Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 9, 2018 9:06 a.m.
City Manager Dale Martin yesterday received the letter below from a representative of First Coast Railroad summarizing the railroad’s position on moving forward with opening the Alachua crossing. As well as indicating a willingness to work with the city on the project, the letter clarified that the city’s railroad “partner” with legal authority will be First Coast Railroad (FCRD). This is an important step in clarifying relationships among various railroad entities including Genessee and Wyoming, CSX and FCRD, all of which have been involved at some point in seeking approval to move forward.
Joe Arbona, FCRD’s AVP for Government Affairs, wrote, “FCRD will cooperate with the City and the Florida Department of Transportation on the project with the conditions that the project will increase safety and will be fully funded by the City and other public funding sources.”
Laura Regalado, the FDOT representative who has been working with the city and the railroads to achieve this agreement for many months, has previously indicated that FDOT money may be made available to improve the railroad’s safety concerns at the Ash and Centre Street crossings.
Martin reported that the city is already in discussion with HDR, one of the engineering firms approved by FCRD for this type of work.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.