Author Topic: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail  (Read 11247 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« on: April 22, 2008, 05:00:00 AM »
CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail



While most of Jacksonville focuses on the impact of CSX's rail enhancement plans on JAXPORT, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at how this impacts potential Urban Commuter Rail and Bus Rapid Transit plans.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/768

Charles Hunter

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 05:56:10 AM »
Good News!!  Since this is tied to the Orlando Commuter Rail deal, it gives us even more incentive to make sure that proposal does not get off track (yes, I meant that) in the Legislature - where there is opposition to the deal.

thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 06:54:57 AM »
In Central Florida, primarily Lakeland and Tampa.  Lakelanders are upset that most of Orlando's freight traffic will be shifted through their downtown, splitting it in half since most streets are at grade crossings and Tampa officials are upset that they are being left out of the deal for commuter rail that could link them with Orlando.
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Lunican

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 08:25:01 AM »
Quote
CSX unveils $40 million track expansion

By DAVID HUNT, The Times-Union

CSX Corp. announced a $40 million plan Monday that it hopes will untangle truck congestion along Jacksonville's Heckscher Drive as the region braces for a shipping boom.

The Jacksonville-based railroad company plans to upgrade tracks and build a link through Nassau County to connect the rails along U.S. 17 to the main line running north toward Waycross, Ga. The idea is to divert cargo containers from the road while also avoiding rail congestion downtown.

Jacksonville Port Authority officials have stressed a need for rail, as projections call for a tripling of cargo in coming years largely because of the TraPac terminal under construction at Dames Point and a pending agreement with Korean shipping company Hanjin.

Millions of dollars will be needed to upgrade the road system - $11.8 million has been committed so far for what authority Executive Director Rick Ferrin called "a quick fix" to ensure nearby roads can handle initial TraPac traffic.

But there are several factors that need to come together before CSX can lay out a definitive plan to put the cargo on rail from TraPac.

The $40 million will come from the state, which is planning to pay CSX $150 million to acquire rights to 61 miles of track in Central Florida for a commuter rail service. But lawmakers are debating how to insure the line.

Clarence W. Gooden, CSX's chief commercial officer, said if the debate kills the deal, CSX still plans to complete the rail upgrades even though the corporate capital budget is planned for the next three years. That raises the question of when the money would be available.

Full Article:
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/042208/met_270742216.shtml

thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2008, 10:01:01 AM »
I don't know if Sen. Dan Webster's bill will pass, but what he's proposing, along with profits from freight operations on commuter rail tracks, would be a solution to JTA's question of finding a dedicated funding source for annual operations & maintainance costs for local commuter rail without having to jack up local resident's taxes.

Anyway, it seems these they are trying to line up allies to get the Orlando commuter rail deal passed.  First our port logistics rail solution is tied to the Orlando deal and now they are trying to bring South Florida on board with a solution that helps fund and maintain rail systems statewide.


Quote
Rail Bill to Be Simplified

Sen. Dan Webster promises a track purchase that takes CSX 'out of the equation.'

TALLAHASSEE | A plan to bring commuter rail to greater Orlando may be streamlined to cut state funding for a mega-hub in Winter Haven and rely on higher rental car taxes to pay for the new passenger service.

Sen. Dan Webster, R-Orlando, said Monday that he will ask a Senate committee to drop everything from the complex deal between the state and CSX Transportation except a $450 million purchase of 61.5 miles of rail line and a promise from the state to exempt CSX from legal liability in accidents involving passenger trains on the line.

Quote
Webster's move may be an effort to get support from South Florida lawmakers who have little to gain in the CSX deal. Under Webster's proposal, anyone who rents a car at an international airport in a county that has a government-run passenger rail system would pay the $2 tax. That money would be used to pay for commuter rail operations. That would allow South Florida counties to rely on tourism-heavy car rentals to subsidize their own Tri-Rail passenger service.

Quote
Under the deal, CSX would pay the state $10 million per year to use the new commuter line for freight service for up to 12 hours per day.

full article: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080422/NEWS/804220429/1039
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JeffreyS

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2008, 10:02:31 AM »
In Central Florida, primarily Lakeland and Tampa.  Lakelanders are upset that most of Orlando's freight traffic will be shifted through their downtown, splitting it in half since most streets are at grade crossings and Tampa officials are upset that they are being left out of the deal for commuter rail that could link them with Orlando.

Wouldn't getting the Orlando deal done help Tampa (and mabey Jacksonville) get their rail online.  Is Tampa's feeling if we don't have it they shouldn't have it.
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adamh0903

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2008, 10:02:51 AM »
If the proposed line photo is accurate it looks like CSX plans to reuse the rail bed that runs along SR 200 from Yulee to Callahan. This was the old east coast/ seaboard connection (oklaw' correct me if I am wrong) that hasnt been used in probably 25, maybe 30 years. If they plan to use this line, what kind of impact will this have on traffic on US-1 in Callahan. What about the business that have already developed on or near these railbeds?

JeffreyS

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2008, 10:09:15 AM »


Quote
Rail Bill to Be Simplified


Quote
Webster's move may be an effort to get support from South Florida lawmakers who have little to gain in the CSX deal. Under Webster's proposal, anyone who rents a car at an international airport in a county that has a government-run passenger rail system would pay the $2 tax. That money would be used to pay for commuter rail operations. That would allow South Florida counties to rely on tourism-heavy car rentals to subsidize their own Tri-Rail passenger service.

Quote
Under the deal, CSX would pay the state $10 million per year to use the new commuter line for freight service for up to 12 hours per day.

full article: http://www.theledger.com/article/20080422/NEWS/804220429/1039


Mr. Miller these subsidies do not mention BRT. If you want the new car rental fee and the CSX line use fee to help with operational costs we need commuter rail.
Lenny Smash

thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2008, 10:17:03 AM »
If the proposed line photo is accurate it looks like CSX plans to reuse the rail bed that runs along SR 200 from Yulee to Callahan. This was the old east coast/ seaboard connection (oklaw' correct me if I am wrong) that hasnt been used in probably 25, maybe 30 years. If they plan to use this line, what kind of impact will this have on traffic on US-1 in Callahan. What about the business that have already developed on or near these railbeds?

From a Google Earth search, the former railbed ROW appears to still be intact.  It would allow Nassau to take advantage of the port's expansion as well.

Steve Rieck, executive director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board, said while the details of a new connector rail line in Nassau are still sketchy, rail is critical to the county's industrial development and expansion would help.

"If they do go through with this rail infrastructure improvement, it will make Nassau County more attractive to warehouse and distribution facilities that can take advantage of the new rail to points north," he said.


http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/042208/met_270742216.shtml

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thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2008, 10:22:12 AM »
In Central Florida, primarily Lakeland and Tampa.  Lakelanders are upset that most of Orlando's freight traffic will be shifted through their downtown, splitting it in half since most streets are at grade crossings and Tampa officials are upset that they are being left out of the deal for commuter rail that could link them with Orlando.

Wouldn't getting the Orlando deal done help Tampa (and mabey Jacksonville) get their rail online.  Is Tampa's feeling if we don't have it they shouldn't have it.

The problem with the Orlando deal is that while it brings commuter rail to Orlando, it kills the chance of linking Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando with commuter rail.  The reason it kills is because a majority of Central Florida freight rail operations with be relocated through downtown Lakeland, sucking up the needed capacity for commuter rail on that same line (it travels through Downtown Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando), before branching off in Auburndale to head south to the proposed Winter Haven rail hub and Miami.
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thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2008, 10:26:53 AM »


The Orlando deal relocates the majority of CSX's rail traffic to the S-Line from Baldwin to Lakeland.  When freight gets to downtown Lakeland, it will shift back to the A-Line for 15 miles before heading south in Auburndale to go to South Florida.  That 15 mile stretch between Lakeland and Auburndale is a critical link for any rail plan that would involve connecting the Central Florida communities together.
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adamh0903

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2008, 10:44:40 AM »
The bed is still there, my customers park on it, some of the bed near US-1 was donated to the Town of Callahan, and is used as the site for the old Train depot.

http://photos.jacksonville.com/mycapture/enlarge.asp?userphoto=0&image=12249457&thispage=1
This picture is looking straight down the rail bed from US-1 in callahan, this picture was taken at the Train Depot.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2008, 10:47:42 AM by adamh0903 »

JeffreyS

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2008, 11:01:39 AM »
If we want commuter rail to link cities such as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville we may have to add rail capacity but is commuter rail really needed to connect large metro areas. I mean do people live in Tampa and commute to Orlando.
Lenny Smash

thelakelander

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2008, 11:09:02 AM »
If we want commuter rail to link cities such as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville we may have to add rail capacity but is commuter rail really needed to connect large metro areas. I mean do people live in Tampa and commute to Orlando.

Yes, Yes, Yes.  There are a number of people in Central Florida who commute between the metros, especially Lakeland.  Lakeland's rapid growth has been fueled by companies choosing to shut down duel locations in Tampa and Orlando to open up new larger single facilities in and around Lakeland.  Those employees commute to both metros.  When I lived in Winter Haven (15 miles east of Lakeland), my next door neighbors commuted daily to jobs in St. Petersburg and Tampa.  When I lived in Lakeland, we would travel to both larger metros (downtown Tampa is 30 minute drive from downtown Lakeland) for a variety of activities.  +20,000 of Disney's employees live in the Lakeland MSA.  I also seriously considered taking a job in Orlando before relocating to Jax, because it would have allowed me to keep my house down there.  If there is a place to start commuter rail in Florida, its that area.  Besides, the distance between the two cities is roughly the same length as South Florida's Tri-Rail between Miami and West Palm Beach.
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Jason

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Re: CSX JAXPORT plan opens the door for Commuter Rail
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 11:10:45 AM »
Quote
Webster's move may be an effort to get support from South Florida lawmakers who have little to gain in the CSX deal. Under Webster's proposal, anyone who rents a car at an international airport in a county that has a government-run passenger rail system would pay the $2 tax. That money would be used to pay for commuter rail operations. That would allow South Florida counties to rely on tourism-heavy car rentals to subsidize their own Tri-Rail passenger service.

Would taxing car rentals at the airports eleminate any incentive for connecting them to a transit system?  Seems like a rail connection would lower the amount of car rentals.



Quote
The Orlando deal relocates the majority of CSX's rail traffic to the S-Line from Baldwin to Lakeland.  When freight gets to downtown Lakeland, it will shift back to the A-Line for 15 miles before heading south in Auburndale to go to South Florida.  That 15 mile stretch between Lakeland and Auburndale is a critical link for any rail plan that would involve connecting the Central Florida communities together.

Is that stretch running through downtown Lakeland or is it more suburban?  Sounds like an easy fix would be to lay more track along that segment and build a few overpasses.  Or simply run a new "bypass" line (right over top of the I-4 emblem) to connect the Auberndale junction with the mainline further north.  Not the end of the world.