Tampa — Liability Solution?
The TECO heritage streetcar board at Tampa wants the Florida legislature to amend its liability requirements for crossing the CSX freight railroad at grade and to cover the costs, the Tampa Tribune reports.
The nonprofit operator of Tampa's streetcar line has paid $4 million over ten years for liability insurance to allow the streetcar to cross a CSX Transportation track that sees about eight freight and passenger trains daily. The current insurance premium is $430,000 and amounts to 30% of the streetcar's operating budget, or $1.30 for each passenger carried over the crossing.
“The Florida Department of Transportation has an agreement with CSX covering liability for passenger services that use or cross CSX facilities for South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail - West Palm Beach-Miami) and SunRail (Orlando area), and the state is absorbing that cost,” the request to the legislature said, arguing to ensure equity in handling this issue everywhere in Florida.
CSX has required a $100 million policy covering streetcar activities at the 13th Street and Fifth Avenue crossing, which streetcars use up to 60 times a day. There has never been an accident at the crossing, though there was once a near miss with an Amtrak train. Some years ago a flagman stationed in a small trailer at the crossing reduced insurance costs, but is no longer in place.