The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission met last week and declared their intentions to pursue the controversial deal with CSX Railroad to buy 61 miles of railroad track. The problem is that CSX Railroad does not want to do the deal without being giving immunity from lawsuits for their negligent activities. They want to be excused from responsibility even for wrongs committed operating their existing commercial railroad lines. They could buy liability insurance to protect those innocent victims killed or maimed by CSX freight trains but they want to increase profits at our expense.
The problem is that the concept of the Central Florida Commuter Railroad is appealing to almost everyone. The I-4 corridor across Central Florida is one of the most congested interstates in the country and getting people to travel by rail rather than by car is a much needed “green” solution. It’s universal appeal has emboldened CSX to make unfair demands knowing that many politicians are willing to “give away the house” just to get the deal done. Fortunately , the Florida Senate did not buckle to the political pressure this year. But it looks like the proposal will be revived in some new format next year and once again come before the Florida legislature. Let’s hope they stand up for our rights again and don’t succumb to the enormous political campaign CSX is sure to wage.