April 20, 2014

FEC reportedly seeks S. Fla. Tri-Rail takeover

MIAMI — Florida East Coast Railway reportedly is in talks with the State of Florida to take over South Florida Tri-Rail management and operations, reports the Palm Beach Post.

South Florida Tri-Rail now operates over 71 miles of former CSX track linking West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, and is owned by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.

The UTU represents both sides of the cab and operations center employees on South Florida Tri-Rail, where Veolia Transportation holds the operating contract and Bombardier Transportation provides maintenance under contract. The Palm Beach Post says FEC “has never bid on those contracts.”

The state currently subsidizes the commuter rail operation with some $30 million annually, with another $13 million subsidy coming from local communities and additional funds from the federal government, reports the newspaper.

The Palm Beach Post says FEC wants to run the passenger trains on its own track, shifting the operations from CSX.

Reportedly, the talks with FEC were initiated by the Florida Department of Transportation. The state legislature would have to approve any transfer of operation.

The newspaper says Florida Gov. Rick Scott is anxious to transfer management and operation of South Florida Tri-Rail to the private sector.