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I am not familiar with the DRI process. Is this a state activity or is it a local process?

I suspect that it can only impact the commuter rail if some some one wants to use it as an excuse. Who would want to do that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as I know, it's a statewide process. Any development over a certain size (one of regional impact) is subject to this process. I do believe that commuter rail will happen in Orlando. Depending on how long the DRI review takes will determine if that project is delayed (or canceled which I doubt will happen).

You are right, it wouldn't suprise me if someone wanted to use this as a way to kill commuter rail. However in Polk, I do know that there are issues with this project in Winter Haven that supercede the importance of commuter rail in Orlando.
 

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^ it's handled through the Dept. of Community Affairs...this is typical when projects like these encompass a region I believe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is there that much demand to commute from Winter Haven to Orlando?
No. The proposed commuter rail stops in Osceola County.

The only reason Winter Haven (Polk County) are tied into this is because in order for the deal between CSX and Orlando's Commuter rail to go through, CSX had to shift freight operations away from that corridor (Jacksonville, Deland, Sanford, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, and Winter Haven) to the central area (Jacksonville, Lake City, Ocala, Dade City, Lakeland, and Winter Haven). There is also a freight yard that will be closed in Orlando and incorporated into the planned ILC in Winter Haven.

Without the ILC, the deal between the state, CSX, and Orlando will fall through.
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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Almost a done deal. Good news.

Commuter rail deal almost done
The last big sticking point -- liability issues -- looks likely to be settled by a key Nov. 30 federal deadline.
Jay Hamburg | Sentinel Staff Writer
November 8, 2007
The final piece of the complex deal to bring commuter rail to Central Florida has been more difficult to fit in place than many initially realized.

But all sides think they will meet a Nov. 30 deadline that would keep them from losing out on millions in federal funding.

CSX Transportation, Amtrak and everyone else involved in the four-county project have to get on board with the deal to put commuter rail cars on a 61-mile stretch of tracks from DeLand to Poinciana.

Back in July, Orlando and Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties all voted to kick in their share for the $615 million system, but negotiations between the state and CSX slowed with a legal debate over liability issues.

However, negotiators expect the complicated deal to be sewed up by the end of this month. If it isn't, the project will miss a chance to get about $180 million in federal funding.

That would likely delay construction for at least a year. The first section of the system from DeLand to Sand Lake Road in Orange County is slated to open in July 2010.

"We keep saying this, but we're there," said Tawny Olore, commuter-rail project manager for the Florida Department of Transportation, on Wednesday.

"We're over the first hurdle and in the race," said Roger Neiswender, Orlando's transportation director, chosen Wednesday as head of the commuter rail technical advisory group that will oversee many of the nuts and bolts of the project.

A spokesman for CSX also confirmed that his company is close to inking the deal.

"It's looking good," said Gary Sease. "We don't anticipate any problems."

There were many facets to the overall deal, including plans for a bus feeder system, agreements to share some stations with Amtrak and a schedule for when freight trains could use the lines. But the biggest sticking point was agreeing on insurance and liability issues.

CSX initially asked the fledgling commuter rail system to carry $500 million insurance to cover any accident between freight trains and commuter rail cars, Olore said.

But after negotiations, both sides are aiming at $200 million. The commuter rail commission still needs to get permission from the state Legislature for that liability cap.

The arrangement would be similar to one granted by the Legislature to the commuter rail system in South Florida almost 20 years ago.

Both sides are moving ahead with their plans.

CSX has purchased more than 300 acres in Winter Haven and put an option on another 900 in anticipation of transferring more than half of its operation from the Taft yard in Orange County. The new Winter Haven terminal is part of an overall plan to route a lot of freight traffic out of Orlando.

The proposed Winter Haven terminal is undergoing state review to analyze its impact on the area, but CSX thinks the project will get approval.

Meanwhile, the state is purchasing land around proposed stations. The first phase will involve building 12 stations and 18 miles of double-tracking to allow commuter rail cars to go in both directions.

Costs for the $615 million system will be split along these lines: 50 percent from the federal government, 25 percent from the state and 25 percent from the four counties and Orlando.

A lot of hopes are riding on the outcome.

"This project," said George Lovett, director of transportation development in Central Florida, "can set the tone for transportation for the next generation."

Jay Hamburg can be reached at [email protected] or 407-420-5673.
Copyright © 2007, Orlando Sentinel
 

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Great news--let's get this thing going! There has already been some transit oriented development along parts of this line. The downtown Kissimmee City Centre project is a great example of an area that has been stagnate for years and is now building up around the commuter rail station.
 

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I want O-town to get the rail, but at this point I have no patience or love for CSX - I wish everyone was doing monorails and CSX could rot
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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I want O-town to get the rail, but at this point I have no patience or love for CSX - I wish everyone was doing monorails and CSX could rot
Yes, futuristic monorails would be cool and routed through more populated areas with more stops for people to board and get off closer to their destinations.
 

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"The Ignorant Fool"
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Project a go.
From the Orlando Business Journal.

Friday, November 30, 2007 - 9:24 AM EST
CSX inks commuter rail agreement
Orlando Business Journal

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, is expected to announce Thursday that CSX has signed an agreement to allow commuter rail trains to use 61 miles of tracks from DeLand to Poinciana.

Specific details of the agreement were not immediately available.

The timing is critical as Nov. 30 was the deadline to have an agreement or the $615 million project would lose about $180 million in federal funding. Insurance and liability issues were the primary concern, with the rail giant insisting Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission provide $200 million in liability insurance.

The first section of the system is expected to open in July 2010 and will run from Sanford to Sand Lake Road. The line is expected to be extended northward to DeLand and southward to Poinciana by 2013.

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) is based in Jacksonville.
 

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Hmmm $200 million in liability insurance? Sounds like CSX is ripping off the state government big time. But lets see how this works out, since light rail needs to happen.
 

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Good for Orlando, this will be great. Now if we could get CSX to actually act in the interest of the consumer...

BTW this is Comuter Rail, not Light Rail...Orlando is working on getting that too, but has not made as much progress as they have with the Commuter Rail.

Steve
 
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