No immediate end in sight for JRA contract fight

The legal battles continue over a multi-year, multi-million dollar operating contract with the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority.  The JRA and two railroad companies were in Clinton County court Thursday presenting oral arguments on several motions.

Carload Express of Pittsburgh, told judge Michael Salisbury it believes the authority’s vote on July 8, 2015 awarded them the contract. According to court documents, Carload maintains it is ready to begin servicing customers on the JRA’s rail lines beginning July 1, 2017.

The authority maintains that no contract was awarded and that the vote was ineffective as it did not reach the required majority of nine. Additionally, the JRA argued that the judge should grant an extension of the current contract with  North Shore Railroad of Northumberland to maintain the status quo while the case remains in limbo.

Judge Salisbury believes a two-day factual hearing will be required before he can rule on the extension, but scheduling that into an already packed court calendar will be difficult. Still pending are motions from both the JRA and Carload Express asking the judge to find in their favor.

It remains to be seen whether or not the judge will rule prior to the end of the current contract on June 30. (Jennifer Wakeman)

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