MINUTES OF THE
OHIO RAIL DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
REGULAR BIMONTHLY MEETING
MARCH 10, 2005
CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL
The meeting of the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) was called to order by Chairman James E. Betts at 10:08 a.m.† Members present included: Chairman Betts, James Hartung, Solomon Jackson, Tom McOwen, Eric Neff, Larry Sowers, Herk Wolfe and Representative Allan Sayre.† Seven voting members present and two absent.
Chairman Betts took a moment to introduce Representative Allan Sayre who will be replacing Representative Jeanine Perry on the Commission.† He also stated that Commissioner Janet Weir-Creighton had resigned as a Commissioner.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE JANUARY MEETING
Chairman Betts asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the January meeting.† Commissioner Sowers moved to approve the minutes and Commissioner Hartung seconded the motion.† The minutes were approved as presented.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTORíS REPORT
Executive Director Jim Seney stated the Directorís report had been distributed to the Commissioners and he would be happy to answer any questions. Director Seney spoke about the changes to reporting requirements for ORDC safety projects using the Federal funds.† He stated Joseph Glinski, Safety Engineer with the Federal Highway Administrationís Ohio Office, was available for questions.† Director Seney reported Ohio has reduced crashes and fatalities at a record pace.† Mr. Glinski stated ORDC submits an annual report to the FHWA regarding the expenditure of federal funds.† This year the FHWA issued more specific reporting requirements, such as crossing approach improvements, crossing warning sign and pavement marking improvements, active grade crossing equipment installations, visibility improvements, roadway geometry improvements, grade crossing elimination and grade crossing inventory updates.
Director Seney reported that through negotiations with the Governorís Office and ODOT, ORDC instituted an early retirement incentive program and switched eligible payroll to non-GRF sources.† Those actions resulted in $1.1 million available for projects, an increase from $400,000 at the beginning of this fiscal year.
Secretary-Treasurer Matthew Dietrich presented the Finance report to the Commission (page 4 in the Commissionersí packets).† Mr. Dietrich reported there is a negative balance listed because not all of the GRF savings Director Seney noted had accrued at the time the Finance Report was submitted.† However, $245,000 in transfers have now been finalized resulting in a positive balance.† He reported that a total balance of $592,583 is available through FY 2005.
Resolution 05-01 - COLUMBIANA COUNTY PORT AUTHORITY
Mr. Dietrich gave an overview of the project.† He stated at the November 18, 2004 Commission meeting, the Commission passed Resolution 04-15 for a $2.1 million loan.† This loan was for the former Y&S rail line.† The operator of the line, Central Columbiana and Pennsylvania Railway Inc.,† declared bankruptcy last summer at which time the Port Authority searched for a new operator of the rail line.† The Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad (OHPA), a subsidiary of the Ohio Central Railroad System, agreed to operate the line.† The terms of the original loan stated there would be a one year grace period with no principal or interest repayments.† ORDC staff is requesting a modification of the loan terms to allow the Columbiana County Port Authority a deferral of payments until April 2006.† Bill Strawn, President of the Ohio Central, briefed the Commission on all of the progress being made on the line and stated the Ohio Central is very anxious to get the line up and going.† Rusty Albright was present on behalf of the Port Authority.† Commissioner Jackson raised an issue about whether it is wise to empower the staff now, to change the responsibility for loan repayment from the Port Authority to OHPA in 2006 when the Port Authority plans to deed over the rail line to OHPA.† Discussion ensued.† Commissioner Jackson made a motion to amend Resolution 05-01, by deleting Item 2 of Exhibit ďAĒ that authorized staff to permit an assignment of the loan to OHPA if the OHPA purchases the line. Commissioner McOwen seconded the amendment.† Roll call was taken and the motion was approved with seven votes in the affirmative and two absent.† Chairman Betts asked for a motion to approved amended Resolution 05-01. Commissioner Sowers moved to accept Resolution 05-10 as amended.† Seconded by Commissioner Hartung.† Roll call was taken and the motion was approved with seven votes in the affirmative and two absent.
Resolution 05-02 - YOUNGSTOWN BELT RR BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
Lou Jannazo gave a brief history on how fortunate events aided in reducing project costs.† He stated keeping the infrastructure in place is a goal of the ORDC.† Bill Strawn, President of the Ohio Central Railroad, stated that being able to negotiate with the highway contractor saved millions of dollars toward the project.† Chairman Betts asked for a motion to approved Resolution 05-02.† Commissioner Hartung moved to approve the resolution and Commissioner Sowers seconded the motion.† Roll call was taken and the motion was approved with seven votes in the affirmative and two absent.
Resolution 05-03 - RJ CORMAN PHASE II REHABILITATION, MINSTER BRANCH
Commissioner Jackson recused himself and left the room.† Mr. Jannazo gave a brief overview of the project.† He stated the whole operation was being compromised due to the slow speeds on the line. †The ability to reinvest in the line would not be possible if poor track led to increased operating costs.† Last year RJ Corman presented this project as a multi-year plan.† The Commission gave funding in year one (last year) for the St. Maryís to Celina line.† In year two funding is needed for the St. Maryís to Minster portion of the line.†† Present from RJ Corman were: James Turner, Tina Hargis, Richard Huff and Clark Raisnor.† Chairman Betts asked for a motion to approved Resolution 05-03.† Commissioner Hartung moved to approve the resolution and Commissioner Sowers seconded the motion.† Roll call was taken and the motion was approved with six votes in the affirmative, two absent and one recused.† Commissioner Jackson was recalled into the room.
Resolution 05-04 - REPUBLIC N&T RAILWAY TRACK REHABILITATION
Mr. Jannazo gave a brief overview of the project.† He stated this is both an economic development and railroad rehabilitation project.† Republic Engineered Products, the parent company to the Republic N&T Railway, is now in a growth mode with 1,900 Ohio employees.† An ORDC grant and loan will help N&T Railway cover the costs of needed materials to retain and build a new loop track to serve a new castor.† Steve Sinnot and Jim Murphy were present from the N&T Railway.† Chairman Betts asked for a motion to approved Resolution 05-04.† Commissioner Sowers moved to approve the resolution and Commissioner Wolfe seconded the motion.† Roll call was taken and the motion was approved with seven votes in the affirmative and two absent.
APPROVED PROJECT BRIEFINGS
US RAIL DITCHING PROJECT
Mr. Jannazo stated US Rail acquired the Great Miami Railway that operates on the City of Jackson owned line.† US Rail has a new transload established and is building traffic.† US Rail is requesting the same project the Great Miami had requested funds for in the past.† This project was ready for approval prior to ORDC budget cuts.† US Rail has brought this project back for consideration.† Gabriel Hall from the US Rail stated they really appreciate the Commissionís interest in helping them to resolve their ditching issues.† Chairman Betts asked if anyone had any questions.† There were no questions.
MAUMEE & WESTERN PHASE III TRACK REHABILITATION
Mr. Jannazo gave a brief history of the project.†† The first two phases have been funded and are ongoing.† He noted that the Phase III,† $120,000 project will be going into portions of the line from Cecil to the Ohio-Indiana boarder and Napoleon to Defiance.† Pete Bell, Chief Operating Officer of the Maumee & Western, was present for questions.† Chairman Betts asked if anyone had any questions.† There were no questions.
CLEVELAND COMMERCIAL RAILWAY TRACK REHABILITATION
Mr. Jannazo gave a brief history of the project.†† Cleveland Commercial took over for the Connotton Valley Railroad.† Five switches near E. 91st Street are in desperate need of repair.† Cleveland Commercial will also repair a bridge in Bedford.† Mr. Jannazo noted a correction to the briefing; Wheeling & Lake Erie will be supportive in engineering for the bridge repair, however, Cleveland Commercial will be solely responsible for the repair.† The briefing had said Wheeling would repair the bridge.† Mike Kole was present from the Cleveland Commercial Railway.† Mr. Kole stated that Cleveland Commercial is a start-up company.† They have gross revenues to date of $225,000.† They have committed $95,000 to repair and rehabilitate the track.††† He explained how the switches are being used along the line.† Mr. Kole thanked the Commission for its assistance.†
Alan H. Klodell, Associate Assistant Attorney General for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, stated that on Tuesday, March 9 oral appellate arguments were held in the City of Mentor V. ORDC, NS and CSX Plaza Boulevard extension litigation.† Two of the justices were very engaged in the arguments. The City again primarily argued that the crossing will be one of the safest in Ohio, while the railroads and ORDC emphasized the public safety issues that such a crossing would create.† This is the final stage of the appeal and Mr. Klodell expects the judges' decision to be made sometime in the next six to twelve months.† Mr. Bill Callison, legal counsel for the Wheeling & Lake Erie, thanked ORDC for having the courage to intervene in this litigation.
Commissioner Hartung gave a brief overview of the University of Toledo Intermodal Transportation Institute.† He stated its primary purpose is to understand transportation.† The University would like to show the Commission its concepts for new rail technology.† This is not a request for funding.†† Commissioner Hartung introduced Dr. Mark Vonderembse, Director of Intermodal Transportation.† Dr. Vonderembse introduced Richard Hathaway and Ronald Kregel of† KACI Intermodal System.† Dr. Vonderembse stated the purpose of this Intermodal demonstration is to explore opportunities to work with the ORDC to seek funding from the US Department of Transportation to support this type of activity and to determine if effort is needed on rail development on a regional and national level.† The KACI system shows the train unloading in a Z pattern, which makes loading and unloading semi-trucks onto and off of rail cars take only a matter of minutes.†† At the end of the presentation, an intermodal model demonstration was held outside of the room.
Chairman Betts asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.† Commissioner Wolfe moved to approve adjournment and Commission McOwen seconded the motion.† The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m.