January 31, 2013

Agency assumes So. Fla. rail corridor responsibility

The Governing Board of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) voted to accept the terms of the South Florida Operations and Management Agreement (SFOMA) at its monthly meeting. The agreement transfers the responsibility for the South Florida Rail Corridor (SFRC) from CSXT to the state.

The board also approved an operating agreement between the SFRTA and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which confirms that SFRTA, will provide the dispatch and maintain the SFRC, in place of CSXT. The implementation date is set for June 30, 2014, with a contingency for delays until Dec. 31, 2014.

A key provision of SFOMA and the operating agreement, is that the SFRTA, on behalf of the state, will dispatch all trains that operate on the SFRC, which means that Tri-Rail trains will be consistently given priority during the day. SFOMA also addresses CSXT’s payment to the State for use of the SFRC, nighttime corridor work, development of standards, positive train control (PTC) cost-sharing and commencement dates.

The operating agreement between SFRTA and FDOT addresses the financial arrangement between the two parties, the responsibilities that SFRTA will be undertaking on behalf of the state, liability and claims handling, and environmental issues. SFRTA will receive an additional $11.5 million annually of dedicated funding for assuming dispatch and maintenance of the SFRC. The current engineer’s cost estimate for Maintenance of Way (MOW) is $14 million a year. SFRTA and FDOT agreed to a cost-sharing plan for MOW costs in excess of the $11.5 million in dedicated funding.

SFRTA already has an in-house dispatch center, staffed by Amtrak (pursuant to its contract with SFRTA), which dispatches the New River Bridge. FDOT will be upgrading the SFRTA’s dispatch desk so that it can dispatch the entire SFRC.

SFRTA responsibilities include dispatching the entire SFRC, maintaining track, stations, layover facilities and maintenance yards, as well as many of the functions currently being performed by CSXT and FDOT.

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