Press Release Contact: Kyle Sullivan, Becky Deusser, Kim Haberlin – 617-725-4025
BOSTON – Wednesday, September 23, 2009 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today announced that the Commonwealth’s comprehensive multi-year rail transportation agreement with CSX Transportation (CSXT), the national freight carrier serving Massachusetts, has been finalized. The announcement was made during Lieutenant Governor Murray’s keynote address before a crowd of approximately 300 business leaders at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs breakfast.
Lieutenant Governor Murray, who has been working on this agreement since he was Mayor of Worcester, led the negotiations for this agreement on behalf of the administration with critical support from the Governor, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Jim McGovern. Many of the agreement’s major elements were resolved last year; however, the long standing debate concerning liability remained unresolved.
Today, Lieutenant Governor Murray proudly announced all parties reached an agreement under which CSXT will help defray the MBTA’s liability insurance cost and pay the deductible on the liability insurance policy if an accident occurs involving a freight train and CSXT is clearly at fault because of willful misconduct.
“Consistent with our commitment to improve transportation service throughout the Commonwealth, we have done more to deliver on the South Coast rail project than any other administration," said Governor Deval Patrick. “This is a critical milestone, and I thank Lieutenant Governor Murray for his leadership, and Senator Kerry, Congressman McGovern, and CSXT leaders for all coming to the table and staying there until we could get a deal that works.”
“The Governor and I have been dedicated to improving our freight and passenger rail system for the long-term health of our economy and our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “We are thankful for the continued support of Senator Kerry and Congressman McGovern, who have both been by our side, helping us achieve the best interest for the Commonwealth. I also commend CSXT for its commitment to seeing this agreement to fruition. A vibrant rail network that serves both passengers and freight needs is an important part of our transportation system.”
“This deal is a tremendous victory with countless benefits for Massachusetts – it’s a boost to our economy, it’ll help reduce pollution, and it will relieve congestion on the roads. It’s been a long slog, but anyone who has ever been stuck in traffic on the Mass Pike or taken the commuter rail from Worcester to Boston will agree that it was worth every last minute on the phone, every hour in the conference room, and every heated discussion at the negotiating table. After clearing the liability hurdle, we were able to finish the important work of linking the economies, businesses and homes of Worcester, New Bedford and Fall River with Boston," said Senator John Kerry. "I want to thank CSX for their effort and I’m proud to be part of a group - including Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and Congressman Jim McGovern – that refused to go away until this was done."
“This announcement is terrific news for commuters in Massachusetts,” Representative Jim McGovern said. “Increasing commuter rail service to Worcester and Fall River has long been a priority of mine. It will ease congestion on our roads, increase economic development and benefit our environment. This agreement is the product of a lot of hard work and some difficult negotiations, and I want to thank Senator Kerry, Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for all of their efforts.”
“This final agreement results from a lot of hard work on the part of many, many people over a long period of time,” said Transportation Secretary James Aloisi. “But our work is not done. We look forward to a new partnership with CSXT on these and other issues and are happy to further advance the prospects for increased MBTA service that this agreement provides.”
“This is a great development for the Commonwealth, its residents, its environment and its economy,” said Michael J. Ward, CSX Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “CSXT, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and the entire Patrick-Murray Administration have worked closely to create solutions that work for the Commonwealth, CSXT and its customers. In addition to commuter service, the plan will give the Commonwealth a double-stack freight rail route that will help alleviate congestion on Massachusetts highways.”
The main elements of the agreement include:
- The Commonwealth will purchase the property rights of the Boston to Worcester rail line from CSXT, increasing the potential for additional commuter service while also taking control of dispatching and maintenance on the line. Through the development of this agreement, the MBTA has already been able to add five Framingham-Boston commuter trains to Worcester on CSX Transportation’s Boston line.
- The Commonwealth and CSXT will increase the vertical clearances of bridges along the railroad main line between I-495 and the New York State line to accommodate double-stack freight trains. The Commonwealth will assume responsibility for raising highway bridges, while CSXT will be responsible for lowering tracks.
- In conjunction with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s South Coast Rail Corridor Plan, the Commonwealth will purchase the New Bedford-Fall River Line from CSXT. The Commonwealth will also purchase the Boston Terminal Running Track and West First Street Yard in South Boston and CSXT’s ownership of the Grand Junction secondary line that extends from Beacon Park Yard through Cambridge to East Boston from CSXT.
- In an effort to create capacity for additional commuter rail service over time, the Commonwealth will help CSXT relocate the company’s operations out of Beacon Park Yard in Boston. This relocation will facilitate the redevelopment and reuse of this strategic parcel of land.
- Federal law requires that a new, state-of-the-art technology known as a “positive train control” system will be installed to provide improved rail safety. The new system will monitor rail traffic, and can automatically stop train movements in an area if it detects a potential conflict.
- Passenger and freight trains will operate, as much as possible, in exclusive “windows” of time, thereby reducing the chance for conflict and assisting with the efficiency of both freight and passenger service.
- Allocates liability amongst the parties in a way that provides incentives for both parties to operate safely, ensures that payments are made quickly to anyone injured in an accident, and encourages joint problem solving to correct safety concerns.
- CSXT will contribute $500,000 to help defray the cost of the liability insurance policy the MBTA carries for the entire commuter system. Additionally, in the event an accident occurs involving a freight train and CSXT is clearly at fault because of willful misconduct, the rail road will be responsible to pay the deductible on that policy, up to a maximum of $7.5 million per accident.
In July, the Patrick-Murray Administration joined the New England Governors in announcing a coordinated regional vision for high speed rail that will connect major cities and airports, and support economic growth throughout the region. The Vision for the New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network lays out key projects to strengthen passenger and freight rail service along new and existing rail corridors. To learn more about New England's rail vision visit: http://www.eot.state.ma.us/recovery/HSR.htm.