Planning for Tampa’s electric streetcar that is slated to connect YborCity to the Tampa Convention Center will not be completed if the cityand HARTline cannot reach an agreement on insurance with the railroadcompany CSX. The company is asking the city of Tampa and HARTline toinsure the crossing of the CSX track at 13th Street for $500 million.
Ron Rotella, spokesman for Mayor Dick Greco said, “We don’t have achoice.” If the city plans to go through with the construction then theywill need to pay the money for the insurance.
Where is the choice for the residents of Tampa?
Taxpayers need to have a voice in what the city decides to spend itsmoney on.
If the city officials feel that they have no choice but to pay thecoverage, then they need to listen to the opinions of residents and workon a compromise with CSX.
In the past, the city has just approved such large spending ideas. Forexample, in the building of Raymond James Stadium, the city just decidedto construct it and looked to the residents to fund the project.
When compared to the $125 million insurance coverage that was requiredin a similar venture in West Palm Beach, the cost is high. However, aspokesperson for CSX said that due to high court verdicts stemming fromaccidents, the $500 million coverage has been used in more recent railcrossings in Raleigh, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn.
The city should have been aware of these figures, and if it didn’t agreewith the charges they should have began negotiating with CSX before theybegan the project.
And now that the city is facing the insurance coverage dilemma, it needsto get public support before it continues with the project.