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Rail group eyes cities for help
May 10, 2006 12:00 am
April 26, 2006 – Though a number of ideas remain on the table, commuter rail officials say they may look to local governmental entities for assistance in acquiring liability insurance for the Music City Star.
Members of the Eastern Corridor Oversight Committee (ECOC) met Tuesday to discuss the Lebanon-to-Nashville passenger rail line's need for a $2 million self-insured retention fund – a fund which must be in place before the Regional Transportation Authority can acquire liability insurance for commuter rail's first year of operation.
RTA spokesperson Teresa McKissick explained the ECOC discussed a number of possible options aimed at securing a line of credit for the $2 million self-insured retention fund.
"One of the things is to draft a resolution for Metro and each of the three Wilson County governmental entities to have them pledge full faith and credit in an amount not to exceed a value based on the formula that was used in the financial and business plans for the operational subsidies," McKissick said.
The resolution would be for "good-faith money" and would only be used should the RTA need to draw down on the line of credit because of an incident involving the rail service, she continued.
Another option would require Wilson County purchase a rider to its current liability policy for the $2 million needed for the self-insured retention fund.
"The cost of that premium would then be distributed to the four governments (Metropolitan Nashville, Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Wilson County) based on the formula for operating costs," McKissick said.
ECOC member and Lebanon Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines said the RTA must ultimately determine "who can pay for what."
"Hopefully, we'll work through the hoops and get resolutions in the next month to six weeks, and we can move beyond this hurdle," Baines said Tuesday. " … It's going to ultimately involve everybody getting their heads together – local governments and all – and saying 'what can we do to get this train rolling?'"
Neither of the plans discussed at Tuesday's meeting were finalized, McKissick added.
"We're exploring those (options) and taking them to the appropriate people that we need to have commitment from … Right now, they're still ideas on the table, nothing that has been implemented," she said.
Should rail officials fail to meet a June 1 deadline to secure liability insurance, McKissick and Rail Project Manager Allyson Shumate have said work on the commuter rail line could experience delays.
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at email@example.com.