Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

House panel approves CSX 'no-fault' bill

TALLAHASSEE — A bill that's crucial to bringing commuter rail to Orlando passed its first test among lawmakers Thursday, despite disagreement over its benefits to a railroad company.

The House infrastructure committee's 8-2 vote would make the state pay for damages or injuries on the commuter rail even if Jacksonville-based CSX's trains cause the harm.

Rep. Rich Glorioso, who sponsored the change, said giving CSX the "no-fault" deal in the bill (HB 1399) was necessary or the company would not sell a Central Florida rail line to the state for commuter service.

The Legislature has to approve the liability standard under the state's $491-million deal with CSX for commuter trains. Without it, CSX officials say they cannot go through with the agreement. It requires the state to take out a $200-million insurance policy, costing $2-million annually. CSX takes full responsibility only when the company is the only one involved in a mishap.

"I have great concern with … the liability that this bill proposes, essentially exposing the taxpayers to covering that liability," said Rep. Michael Scionti, R-Tampa, who opposed the proposal with Rep. Susan Bucher, R-West Palm Beach.

In 2006, Gov. Jeb Bush struck a deal with CSX to pay $150-million for 61.5 miles of railroad to run commuter trains. But the state also agreed to pay $341-million to help CSX's freight rail operation, including overpasses and a massive rail yard in Winter Haven.

The plan would increase freight train traffic through Plant City into downtown Lakeland, and dramatically hike truck traffic in Winter Haven.

While the Orlando area wants commuter rail to ease traffic, some lawmakers in Polk County and the Tampa Bay area said they were unaware of how the plan would affect those areas. Those lawmakers, led by Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, have pressed for a delay until the issues can be resolved.

"This is important to Florida's future," said former House Speaker John Thrasher, who lobbies for Orlando, as he buttonholed Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, in a hallway minutes before the meeting.

Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, withdrew a similar bill in the Senate on Thursday. But Baker said he will try to keep the project moving.

"It's only March, and it made it out," Baker said of the House panel's vote.

David DeCamp can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

House panel approves CSX 'no-fault' bill 03/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 21, 2008 5:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski


    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)