Question: (In response to an email correcting the date US Rail notified the City of Jackson they would terminate the lease agreement on April 30, 2014 NOT April 30, 2013) Should the RFP be disregarded, assuming it will be reissued in a year?
Answer: No; do not disregard the RFP. This was a typo only.
Question: Is the ORDC administering any of this on behalf of the City of Jackson (similar to the Panhandle for the State of Ohio)?
Answer: The ORDC has been working with the City of Jackson to develop a RFP for the line. This RFP is being issued by ORDC on behalf of the City of Jackson for the interested parties wishing to become the new operator of the rail line.
Question: On review of the documentation provided for the ORDC City Of Jackson RFP, we have a question pertaining to lease and operating agreement; Page 13 of 21, Article XIII. Passenger and Excursion Service
Section 13.01_____ is prohibited from running passenger or excursion service over the Jackson Line without the prior written approval of the Executive Director of ORDC.
What is the basis for this Section in the Operating Agreement? The Railroad bottom line would benefit from the additional revenue generated by "Passenger and Excursion Service". The State, Counties and Local Communities would benefit from the addition of a source of tourism brought to the area by a Railroad "Passenger and Excursion Service". It would be a basis for creation of additional jobs on the railroad and also the creation of jobs in the local communities bounded by the railroad and the highways leading to the area to service the traveling public. The original operators of the line the Indiana and Ohio Railroad had very good success with those type of operations in the 80's.
We understand that the main focus of this RFQ is for the Freight Business, but we also understand that the loss of rail traffic and car loadings due to various circumstances beyond our control makes the possibility of running a profitable venture risky. We believe that a potential proposer would be allowed to offer a variety of options to make the line profitable and self sustaining and able to not have to depend on Grants and other such funding.
Answer: You are correct that the focus of the RFP is to secure a qualified freight operator and the successful candidate’s qualifications in that area will be the sole basis of the RFP selection process. With regard to passenger or excursion service, this lease is consistent with other lines owned by the ORDC. It does not exclude the option for passenger and excursion services; it merely requires the operator to first secure the permission and discuss the option with the ORDC before any excursion/passenger services can be provided. Such a decision by the ORDC would be based on operator experience with excursion services as well as both the financial ability of the operator to support the additional liability of the proposal and the track condition.
Question: Is it ok to just send back page 8 or do you want the entire document? (After further clarification of the question)... What needs to be signed to get the shipper information? Also, do I need to sign page 8 of the RFP and send it back to ORDC to show my interest?
Answer: You simply need to provide an executed Confidentiality Agreement (Exhibit E) to receive the shipper information. That request alone notifies us you are interested and you do not need to return a signed RFP until you submit your entire proposal (by 5pm on May 3, 2013).
Question: In the files on the Jackson line, it refers to the line South of Jackson as currently out of service, the next sentence states the current operator lists the line as excepted track. Is the ENTIRE railroad excepted track or just the line south of Jackson?
Answer: The ENTIRE Jackson Line is excepted.
Question: Which days of the week should we anticipate CSX delivers/pulls cars from the interchange with the Jackson line operator? Also, from which direction are inbound/outbound car flows supported - from Columbus - KY/WV - both? Has CSX indicated if they will permit shortline operator to transit CSX mainline to interchange with non-PTC equipped locomotives (in accordance with limited regulatory exemption for Class III railroads), or that they will require shortline to operate fully CSX PTC system-equipped & compliant operations over the CSX track? If PTC is to be required, please obtain from CSX their system specifications (or referral to appropriate contact/resources) for our development of budgets related to this operational need.
Answer: I apologize, but ORDC does not have detailed information on the current interchange with CSX. All we know is that CSX mainline trains passing through Chillicothe/Vauces Yard do pick up and set off Jackson Line traffic. Additionally, ORDC is not aware of how CSX will handle PTC issues.
Question: What about the tunnels - is there any engineering report of what their needs will be in the near term, and coming years?
Answer: There are two tunnels on the Jackson Line. Neither ORDC nor the City can provide definitive engineering reports about the precise, current conditions of the tunnels. ORDC believes the information below is a reasonable estimation of the tunnel conditions. All proposers for Round 1 can assume in their maintenance and cost proposals that no major tunnel repairs will be needed. Any Round 2 proposers will have an opportunity to inspect the tunnels to make their own judgment as to the appropriate level of tunnel maintenance to include in their Round 2 proposals.
Richland Tunnel: Located at MP 122; 207 ft. long; single track; portals are timber bins; the inner tunnel is natural sandstone; the portals have been recently repaired; the inner tunnel appears to be in good condition.
Byers Tunnel: Located at MP 121; 1160 ft. long; single track; portals are stone masonry; the inner tunnel is brick lined and covered with shot-crete; the entire tunnel appears to be in good condition.
Question: The listed bridge reports are 2009 reports. 49CFR237 should be in full force and effect, thereby US Rail should have their 2012 inspections on file. Are those reports available? Staying on the regulatory topic, what are they doing about bridge management as required by law? If nothing, then your bridges may be compromised worse than indicated.
Answer: The ORDC does not have any bridge reports for 2012. If you would like a copy of them, we recommend you contact the FRA. PUCO records do indicate that part of the line was shut down in 2010 due to bridge conditions from a PUCO inspection, which we do not have. Other than this, the information provided in Exhibit D is all the ORDC has on the conditions of the bridges on the Jackson Line.
Question: Can our group request confidentiality of "all financial information to the ORDC" as a part of the Jackson Line RFP process?
Answer: ORDC will keep your information confidential to the extent allowable by law. Upon submission, please be sure to indicate which pages of the proposal should remain confidential.
Question: What basic freight rates is US Rail getting for the various commodities/moves?
Answer: Neither ORDC nor the City of Jackson know the rates per car by commodity for the current US Rail traffic.
Question: I thought I noted "Financial information would not count against RFP application page count." Is that correct?
Answer: On page 5 of the RFP it states, "Audited financial statements or comparable financials for previous 3 years of Proposer and parent company (if applicable). (Audited statements will not count against the 50 page limit)."
Jackson Line RFP.pdf
Exhibit A - City of Jackson MOU - Signed.pdf
Exhibit B - Jackson Line Infographic Letter Size.pdf
Exhibit C - Track Charts.pdf
Exhibit D - Jackson Bridge Reports.pdf
Exhibit E - Confidentiality Agreement.pdf
Exhibit F - Potential Economic Development Sites.pdf
Exhibit G - Operator Agreement - Working Draft CLEAN.pdf
Exhibit H - Jackson Line RFP Scoring.pdf
Exhibit I - ORDC Disclosure Release.pdf
Any questions proposers have about the RFP will be e-mailed to Julie Kaercher at firstname.lastname@example.org. No telephone or in person questions will be allowed. The questions and answers will be posted on the ORDC Web Site under http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Rail/Pages/City-of-Jackson-RFP.aspx.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
TO OPERATE THE JACKSON LINE
I INFORMATION ON JACKSON LINE FOR PROSPECTIVE PROPOSERS
Purpose: Seek a new rail operator for the City of Jackson-owned Rail Line.
Description of Rail Line: The “Jackson Line” refers to 65.54 miles of rail tracks and right-of-way the City of Jackson acquired in two separate purchases from CSX in 1987 and 1991 as well as a branchline right-of-way purchased from the Grand Trunk Western in 1991 on which 10,084 feet of new track was built in 1992.
The 1987 purchase from CSX included a portion of the Renick Subdivision from MP. 91.6 to MP 95.5 (from south of Chillicothe near Richmond Dale to West Junction in Ross County), a portion of the Parkersburg Subdivision from MP 112.4 to MP 127.8 (from near Richmond Dale to Hamden in Ross, Vinton, and Jackson Counties), the Portsmouth Subdivision from MP 0.0 to MP 32.75 (Hamden to the City of Jackson to Oak Hill/Firebrick in Vinton, Jackson, and Lawrence Counties) and the Huron Lead Track in and near the City of Jackson that has come to be commonly referred to as the AluChem branch or the North Jackson Branch from MP 0.0 to MP 2.59. The 1990 purchase from CSX included a portion of the Parkersburg Subdivision from MP 127.8 to MP 136.8 (from Hamden to Red Diamond near McArthur in Vinton County).
The Jackson Line was augmented in 1992 when the Huron Lead was extended from MP 2.59 to MP 4.5 by the construction of new track on former Grand Trunk Western (Detroit, Toledo, & Ironton) right-of-way to an expanding AluChem plant.
Current Rail Operator: US Rail Corporation has operated the Jackson Line under a lease agreement with the City of Jackson since 2004. US Rail has notified the City of Jackson that it will discontinue operations on the Jackson Line as of April 30, 2014 per the terms and conditions of the current lease agreement.
City of Jackson Legal Proceedings Against US Rail: The City of Jackson has two law suits pending against US Rail seeking the termination of the City’s lease with US Rail.
ORDC – City of Jackson Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): ORDC and the City have entered into an MOU whereby the City plans to turn over the ownership of the Jackson Line to the State of Ohio. A copy of the MOU is attached as Exhibit “A”. The current plan is for the City to retain ownership of the Jackson Line while ORDC, in coordination with the City and Jackson Line rail users, selects a new operator for the line. Sometime soon after the new operator actually begins operations, the City will turn over ownership to ORDC.
Condition of Jackson Line: A map of the line is included as Exhibit “B” herein. Track charts for the line are included as Exhibit “C”. The latest reports on bridge conditions submitted by US Rail to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio are included as Exhibit “D”.
Neither ORDC nor the City of Jackson will make or provide any warranties as to the condition of the track and fixtures along the Jackson Line. The information provided herein on track and fixture conditions is provided solely for the purposes of giving any proposer as realistic as possible view of the line.
Track charts are provided in Exhibit “C”. Please note, some of the passing tracks and sidings shown no longer exist and other sections of track have been modified.
There are currently no shippers on the line south of the City of Jackson. The line south of the City has been used for car storage by the current operator. The current operator reports that the entire line is currently in “Excepted” condition.
Below is a summary of State funded projects on the Jackson Line including initial acquisition:
ODOT Rail (& $319,526 FRA) Grants CSX Acquisition (1987) $1,400,000
ODOT Rail Grant for Track Rehabilitation, Hamden to Oak Hill (1990) $281,517
ODOT Rail (& ODOD$145,00) Grant for Phase II CSX Acquisition (1991) $645,000
ODOT Rail (& ODOD$100,000) Grant for AluChem Track Construction (1992) $600,000
ORDC Grant, Flooding Repairs (1997) $250,000
ORDC Loan, Flooding Repairs (Repaid by FEMA)(1997) $1,000,000
ORDC Grant (& ODOD $150,000) for American Warehousing Spur (2000) $385,000
ORDC Loan for American Warehousing Spur, Jackson (2000) $160,250
ORDC Grant for Track Rehab. Hamden to Jackson & AluChem Lead (2001) $126,500
ORDC Loan for Track Rehab. Hamden to Jackson & AluChem Lead (2001) $126,500
ORDC Grant for Bridge Timbers (2003) $45,200
ORDC Grant for Meadow Run Yard Ditching (2005) $85,000
ORDC Grant for Richland Tunnel Repairs (2008) $324,000
ODOT “ARRA” Grant (Administered by ORDC) Various Work (2010) $1,700,000
ORDC Emergency Bridge Repair (10.8, 11, 11.4, & 13.4) $226,634
TOTAL STATE ASSISSTANCE $7,355,601
In addition, ORDC has obtained a grant of $380,000 in Ohio Department of Transportation “Transportation Enhancement” funds that ORDC will match with a 20% contribution of $95,000. This money will be available in 2014 for the following repairs along the West Junction to Red Diamond former CSX mainline portion of the Jackson Line:
Improve Parkersburg Subdivision Line (MP 112 to 136) Install 2,000 Ties $150,000
Improve Drainage & Minor Repairs, Byers Tunnel $50,000
Improve Drainage, Replace Culvert, Minor Repairs, Richland Tunnel $50,000
Re-deck Bridge MP 120.1 at Byers & Replace Approach Ties $75,000
Re-deck Bridge MP 113.5 at West Junction & Replace Approach Ties $75,000
Re- deck Bridge MP 92.1 at Richmond Dale & Replace Approach Ties $75,000
With this funding, however, comes the requirement that future significant projects on bridge and tunnel structures will need the appropriate lead time to follow the appropriate historic preservation strictures.
Rail Shipping on the Jackson Line: A confidential shipper report along with a map showing rail users’ locations will be provided to Proposers upon their furnishing to ORDC an executed Confidentiality Agreement, a copy of which in include herein as Exhibit “E”.
Development Sites Along the Jackson Line: Potential economic development sites provided by local economic development officials are included as Exhibit “F” herein.
II RULES AND PROCEEDURES FOR PROPOSALS
Background: The evaluation team will consist of select ORDC staff, shippers and others selected by ORDC for their expertise in the rail industry and/or familiarity with the Jackson Rail Line. The evaluation team will score proposals on a consensus basis, with every member of the evaluation team agreeing on scores for each proposer in each category. All outside evaluators will be required to sign a Conflict of Interest form.
The selection process will be conducted in two rounds. ORDC Staff, with consensus of stakeholders will select participants for Round Two.
Non-Negotiable Condition for Submitting a Proposal: ORDC has included as Exhibit “G” a draft ORDC – Railroad “Operating Agreement”. The proposer accepts the basic conditions laid out in the Operating Agreement and that certain elements of the proposals will be included as requirements of the Operating Agreement.
Differences between Round One and Round Two:
Shipper Contacts: In Round One, proposers will NOT have direct access to or contact with Jackson Line rail users. In Round Two, proposers will be allowed to contact the Jackson Line rail users. ORDC will provide the contact information.
Access to Railroad Property: In Round One, proposers will be encouraged to look at the Jackson Line only from public access points such as rail crossings. Proposers will NOT be given access to the City owned railroad property. In Round Two, the finalists will be provided access to the railroad in coordination with the City and US Rail. Proposers will be required to complete “Right of Access” forms which indemnify the City, ORDC, and US Rail from any liability resulting from entering the property.
Proposals: In Round One, proposers will submit the information outlined herein below. In Round Two, ORDC will require a resubmittal of the Round One information adjusted to take into account knowledge gained from direct access to shippers and the rail line. For Round Two, ORDC reserves the right to require that other information be submitted in addition to the Round One information.
· ORDC will send out RFP’s to parties who have expressed an interest in being the new Jackson Line operator and simultaneously post the RFP prominently on the ORDC web page on March 25, 2013.
· Round One submittals will be due at ORDC offices by 5 PM on May 3, 2013. No proposals will be accepted after the time specified.
· ORDC will evaluate proposals and select Round Two finalists by June 7, 2013. ORDC will select no more than three finalists for Round Two.
· ORDC will provide Round Two finalists with instructions for final submittals by June 7, 2013.
· Round Two submittals will be due at ORDC offices by 5 PM on July 12, 2013. No proposals will be accepted after the time specified.
· ORDC will evaluate proposals and select the new operator by August 16, 2013.
· The City will enter into an Operating Agreement with new operator by October 1, 2013. The agreement will take effect upon the cessation of rail service by US Rail.
Round One Submittals:
· Submission parameters, requirement that respondents clearly mark sections of their proposals to match the sections outlined in the RFP document below with total number of pages in response limited to 50 8.5” X 11” pages, Proposer shall provide 12 copies of the response and all Round One submittals.
· RFP proposers and shippers who are serving as RFP evaluators are expected to conduct themselves with professional integrity and to refrain from lobbying activities. Commencing with the issuance of the RFP and continuing until award of the Operating Agreement, no employee, member, agent, or advisor of any RFP proposer, or shipper who is serving as a RFP evaluator, shall have any ex parte communications, directly or indirectly, regarding this RFP with any representative of the ORDC, including staff, advisors, or shippers who are serving as a RFP evaluator, except for communications expressly permitted by the RFP.
· Any verified allegation that a RFP proposer or shipper who is serving as a RFP evaluator, or any of their employees, agents, advisors or consultants has engaged in such prohibited communications or attempted to unduly influence the RFP selection process may be cause for the ORDC to disqualify the RFP proposer or to disqualify the shipper who is serving as a RFP evaluator from participating as a RFP evaluator; all at the sole discretion of the ORDC.
Scoring: An overview of scoring methodology is included herein as Exhibit “H”. Scoring will be based on the staff analyses of the various components of the proposal. The reasonableness of the all elements of the proposal will be a part of the analyses. Proposers making what the scoring team believes to be unrealistic claims and assumptions about any elements of the proposal will be scored accordingly.
Administration Fee: The Administration Fee for submitting an application in Round One shall be $500. Checks payable to Treasurer, State of Ohio for this amount must accompany the responses. The Administration Fee for submitting an application in Round Two shall be $0.
· ORDC reserves the right to terminate the RFP process, request additional information from any or all proposers, waive or modify minor irregularities, and reject any or all proposals.
· All expenses incurred by proposers in responding to this RFP shall be borne by the proposer. In no event shall ORDC be responsible for any such expenses.
· Addenda may be issued in response to changes in the RFP. Addenda must be acknowledged in a cover letter attached to the response. Failure to properly acknowledge any Addenda may result in a declaration of non-responsiveness by ORDC.
· Responses may not be amended after they are received by ORDC.
· By submitting a proposal, proposer accepts and approves the terms, process, and methodology used by ORDC for the selection of an operator.
· Proposer must be, or become qualified to conduct business in Ohio through the Ohio Secretary of State.
· Proposer must submit the Tax Disclosure Form included herein as Exhibit “I” with its response so that ORDC can determine if the Proposer is delinquent on Ohio taxes.
· All Proposers will be subject to an Ohio EPA review to ensure they are in compliance with Ohio EPA requirements.
· All Proposers must demonstrate that they are current with Workers Compensation or Federal Employee Liability Act requirements.
· Proposer acknowledges that ORDC review will include credit, public utilities, Surface Transportation Board, Federal Railroad Administration, and any and all other contacts deemed necessary by ORDC.
III ELEMENTS PROPOSERS MUST INCLUDE IN PROPOSALS
Description of Proposer:
· Main Contact Person for Proposer.
· Description of parent company of Proposer, if any, including a copy of the latest annual report for parent company.
· Audited financial statements or comparable financials for previous 3 years of Proposer and parent company (if applicable). (Audited statements will not count against the 50 page limit.)
· Short description of Proposer’s affiliated railroads including customers served, carloads handled by commodity, and other relevant factors. Special attention should be paid to customers Proposer currently serves that are similar to Jackson Line shippers.
· Résumés of managing personnel at parent company who would oversee Jackson Line rail operations and delineation of their roles for the Jackson Line.
· Résumés of General Manager, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Mechanical Officer, Chief MOW Officer, and other key personnel that would actually run Jackson Line is optional in Round 1 and required for Round 2. If the personnel will not be there full time, an estimation of the time they will spend working on Jackson Line issues.
· A statement as to whether the Proposer will consider using the existing local operating and maintenance crews for their Jackson Line operations. (Shippers have expressed great satisfaction with the performance of the current local operating people.)
· Listing of any existing or potential lawsuits, liens, environmental issues of the Proposer that could reasonably result in Proposer incurring $500,000 or more in expenses.
· References from railroads who the Proposer has worked with for interchanging traffic, joint marketing efforts, and other related matters.
· References from state and local officials that the proposer has worked with on public projects or public private partnerships.
· References from rail users and economic development officials who are familiar with the Proposer’s marketing efforts.
· References from shippers that the proposer has served.
Operating Plan: Proposers submit Operating Plans including but not limited to the following:
· Location of main office for new railroad operations.
· Description of motive power to be on line and of plan to provide motive power if one or more units is not in service.
· Description of proposed schedule of service to shippers (e.g. daily, as needed, 3X a week) including an overview of where motive power will be staged, expected number of crews and their respective jobs, and related shipper service issues.
· Description of mechanical (locomotive and rail car) maintenance on line including repair and maintenance locations, expected make up of mechanical crew, and other relevant details.
· Description of maintenance of way equipment to be on line including location of MOW equipment and personnel staging, the expected number of MOW employees (noting if mechanical and/or operating personnel will also be used for MOW), and related details of how normal MOW issues will be addressed.
· Description of demurrage policy.
· Description of how the Proposer will handle property management issues including by not limited to encroachment issues, new licenses and easements, utility crossings, etc. Please refer to the ORDC-RR Operating Agreement in Exhibit G.
· An organizational chart for the new Jackson Line operations that demonstrate how the items above will be staffed.
Track and Fixture Maintenance & Rehabilitation Plan: In Round 1, the Proposers shall submit a Preliminary “Track Maintenance & Rehabilitation Plan”. Proposers that reach Round 2 will be asked to expand upon the Preliminary Plan. The Preliminary Track and Fixtures Maintenance & Rehabilitation Plan will include the following:
· The goal for the FRA classification of track (i.e. Excepted, FRA Class I, FRA Class II) for the various segments of the Jackson Line.
· General overview and rough cost estimates for the work needed to obtain the target FRA classes of track.
· For the purposes of this RFP, Proposers may assume that ORDC will provide on a 50/50 basis a total of up to $150,000 a year in each of the first three years of the new railroad’s operations (that is a total of $450,000) for track and structure rehabilitation projects. ORDC has no obligation whatsoever to provide ANY funds to the new operator. The numbers included herein are merely estimates of what ORDC might reasonably provide for the purpose of obtaining an apples-to-apples comparison of Proposer’s line improvement plans.
· A commitment for the amount of money the Proposer will definitely provide for Track and Fixture Maintenance & Rehabilitation in the first 3 years toward meeting the 5 year goals as well as any mitigating factors that would prevent meeting the goal. For example, Proposers may wish to tie their commitment to carload levels by commodity.
· If Proposer anticipates that public funding will be needed to meet the 5 year goals, Proposer must clearly state such and indicate where the public funds might come from and how much of the public funds would be grant funds and how much would be loan funds.
Marketing Plan: Operating Railroad will need to grow traffic. For Round 1 the Proposer shall submit a Marketing Plan. Proposers that Reach Round 2 will be asked to expand upon the Marketing Plan. The Marketing Plan will include the following:
· Résumé information on the person or people the Proposer will commit to have working on the marketing plan for the first year of the new operation.
· Proposer commitment for time spent annually in the first 3 years doing marketing, (e.g. example one person working ½ time on the Jackson Line).
· Examples of marketing efforts and successes the Proposer has undertaken for lines with similar characteristic and demographics as the Jackson Line; for other lines that are not similar to the Jackson Line.
· Examples of Proposer’s joint marketing efforts and successes with Class I partners as well as state and local economic development groups for new development.
· Delineation of where Proposer sees traffic growth from existing rail users and from non-rail users and/or from new business opportunities, including business at available economic development sites.
· Proposers overall plan for marketing the line.
General: The components of the Financial Plan must be in agreement with the assumptions made in the Track & Fixture Maintenance & Rehabilitation Plan, Marketing Plan, and Operating Plan. The Financial Plan shall clearly delineate where any and all public funding is assumed.
Revenues: Proposer will make assumptions about their per car revenue expectations based on their past experience and on the nature of the commodities generated by the existing shippers and other information it may have. Proposer will clearly state these revenue assumptions in detail, e.g. by commodity. Proposers will also provide their expectations for other revenues to be generated along the line, e.g. car storage, transloading, demurrage or other expected sources of revenue.
Costs: Any “management” fees must be listed separately. The ORDC lease costs listed in the ORDC – RR Operating Agreement herein should be included. Proposer will include the costs of $10 million in insurance coverage. Proposers should include cost assumptions for meeting federal PTC and Bridge Inspection rules. Proposer shall clearly delineate major cost categories.
The Financial Plan Format: Proposers submit Financial Plans including but not limited to the items below.
· Pro forma balance sheets for 3 years.
· Pro forma Income Statements for 3 years.
· Pro forma Cash Flow projections on a monthly basis for the first year.
· Statement explaining how start-up capital and operating funds in the Finance Plan will be provided by Proposer.
Transition Issues: Proposers shall provide details as to how they will conduct the transition. Issues to address include the Proposer’s plan for keeping or not keeping local existing railroad personnel, its existing relationship, if any, with US Rail, its plans on dealing with shippers, its plan for dealing with local and state officials, its plan for STB filings, and other related transition issues. Further, Proposer will include in its transition plan needed coordination with CSX for the interchange of traffic.
Other: Proposers may provide any other information they believe is relevant.
Your signature indicates that you attest to the validity and accuracy of all of the statements made in this Request for Proposal, and that you have read, understand and hereby agree to be bound by all of the terms, conditions, specifications, requirements and addenda specified within the aforesaid Ohio Rail Development Commission Request for Proposal.
Authorized signature by Officer of the Company
Type or print name shown above
Title of Officer Signing
Name of Company