April 15, 2008

Fast train, wrong track

No, No, 649 million times - No, no no!

    TAMPA - If you ever had any remote doubt what the term "getting railroaded" means, thanks to that buffet-line of glad-handers in Tallahassee, otherwise known as the Florida Legislature, sponsored by CSX - ahem, now you know.

    From the very beginning, the CSX giveaway, hatched in secret and pushed through the Legislature with more winks and nods than a Skull & Bones alumni reunion, has stunk up the corridors of power in Tallahassee like it was five-day-old roadkill.
Fast train, wrong train
    PALM BEACH - As the Legislature moved closer last week to draconian budget cuts, the state also moved closer to a terrible $641 million sweetheart deal with a private company.

    Is there any wonder that the Florida Department of Transportation, then under Gov. Jeb Bush, negotiated the deal in secret?

    Supporters claim that the deal would be cheaper than widening highways in and around Orlando. Why, though, does so little of the money go for commuter service? Why does CSX get so much of a break from liability? Why was it worked out in secret if it's such a good deal for the state? The deal should get an up-or-down vote on its own - not as part of a huge, politically popular bill - and the deal should change, or be voted down.
Just hire a CSX lobbyist
    LUTZ - University budget cuts are not hard to fix. Just lay railroad tracks at every university. Then hire a lobbyist from CSX. Done deal.
Ahead of the bell: CSX target raised
    NEW YORK - Lehman Brothers raised estimates and a price target on CSX Corp. Tuesday, saying the railroad operator's strong prices will likely help offset high fuel costs.

    So far in 2008 shares of Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX have risen 30 percent, while the cost of light, sweet crude has jumped about 16 percent.

    Chase said the company's strong pricing will help sustain earnings estimates amid high fuel costs and lower volume. Much of the stock's potential is currently priced in, he said.
After the Bell: CSX Q1 Profit Jumps 46%
    4/15/2008 7:16:51 PM - Tuesday after the bell, CSX Corp. (CSX), a railroad transportation company, announced a 46.3% rise in profit for the first quarter driven by 3.7 percentage points increase in operating ratio due to greater labor productivity and higher fuel efficiency.

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