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* News Release *
 
Friday, February 4, 2011
For Immediate Release

CSX RAILROAD OFFICIALS MEET WITH BUTLER COUNTY ENGINEER

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens got the meeting that he requested with CSX Railroad officials. He insists however that the railroad still has a long way to go to prove that they are willing to cooperate with local jurisdictions and respect public safety.

CSX officials contacted Wilkens upon receiving his letter of January 4, 2011 criticizing the railroad's business-as-usual tactics and their flagrant disregard for public safety. In that letter, Wilkens outlined a history of the rail company's public safety abuses and their stubborn unwillingness to work with local agencies. "CSX has demonstrated a persistent unwillingness to work with us in any regards. Your dysfunctional and unprofessional manner of doing business is not welcome in Butler County," Wilkens said in the letter to Michael J. Ward, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Transporation, Inc.

Wilkens concluded by refusing to allow CSX to close any more crossings in Butler County until a formal meeting could be held with the appropriate CSX officials. That meeting was held on January 20, 2011 at the Butler County Engineer's Office and included the following CSX personnel:

- Ken A. Downard, CSX Chief Engineer Maintenance of Way
- Kelly Piccirillo, CSX Division Engineer
- Rusty Orben, CSX Director of Public Affairs - Ohio

Also in attendance were Ryan Day with Speaker John Boehner's Office, State Representative 53rd District Tim Derrickson, Roger Gates from the Butler County Prosecutor's Office, and several members of the BCEO staff.

Wilkens feels the meeting was a good first step but is cautious: "The last thing we want is for CSX to gloss over this, hope it goes away, and continue with the practices that have brought us to this point. We intend to hold them accountable to their promises."

The minutes to the January 20 meeting, recently approved by the three CSX officials as recorded, include the following stated promises from CSX:

1) To fix and repair to BCEO specifications asphalt and bad crossings resulting from work done by CSX crews in November and December 2010;
2) To provide a schedule of crossing closures and adhere to it;
3) To not close crossings without notification;
4) To obtain the necessary permits before scheduling any crossing closures;
5) To review and potentially revise CSX's construction and engineering contracts;
6) To develop a more cooperative attitude with local jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, since media reports last month of his intention to take on the railroad, Wilkens has received numerous phone calls and emails in support of his stand, encouraging him to press on. "We've been contacted by several public agencies, but surprisingly, a great deal of support has also come from the general public who are apparently just as frustrated with the railroads," he said.

Wilkens was also contacted by officials from Pendleton County, Kentucky who have been attempting to work with CSX to replace a dangerous bridge over a CSX rail line. While the State of Kentucky has even offered to fund repairs CSX has refused to participate or give permission for the necessary work, stating that Pendleton County officials will have to accept the bridge as it is.

"There is an obvious pattern by CSX of blatant disregard for public safety," Wilkens insisted. "We know there are many, many more examples of public safety abuses by CSX and that any complaints have fallen on deaf ears. It is our hope that the CSX officials with whom we met can and will effect a much-needed change of culture at the railroad. We look forward to working with them and can assure our citizens that the railroads will, at the very least, change the way they do business in Butler County."

Additional reading / viewing:

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For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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