With the below letter, the timeline appears to be shot making it increasingly unlikely that all the work could be completed in time for a JPA to be formed, Special Assessments to be levied, and bonds to be issued before the SAD legislation expires in June of 2013. It will be interesting to see how long the towns wait before they have to start lobbying for an extension of that legislation for the Red Line.
At the very least, this issue will now linger well into the November election season. With the State being asked to backstop the finance package and the Legislature and Governor's office up for grabs, this is going to get interesting.
Here's the latest response:
From: Edwards, John, V (Planning)
Date: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Subject: RE: Red Line Task Force Minutes
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the Minutes for the latest Red Line Task Force meeting. This also serves to respond to the email of March 7 from Paul Morris and Mayor Woods.
In review of those minutes, I noted a report asserting that an infrastructure and operations study would be completed in the spring and summer of 2012. Unfortunately, that is simply not logistically possible. As I noted in my email of February 22, 2012 to the Task Force, Norfolk Southern would be pleased to meet later this spring or summer should the Red Line Task Force decide to proceed with such an infrastructure and operations study. Any study conducted by Norfolk Southern to introduce commuter rail to the O Line would involve a significant effort from all sides, i.e., formulating a study outline, precepts for that study, determination as to the human and financial resources to devote to the conduct of the study, etc. After we have formulated the foundations for such a study, the study itself would take an additional several months or more to be performed. Often this type of study is a multi-year effort. It certainly is not one to begin lightly, and such a study can be fairly expensive for the communities to undertake. Once all involved know what the acceptable infrastructure, operational plan, and capital and operational costs might be, it is then that we can turn to determining whether a proposal for the commuter service along this corridor may be acceptable to Norfolk Southern and the affected communities.