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[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from CSX.]
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening legal action against CSX if the Whitesboro rail bridge in Oneida County is not rebuilt.In a letter sent yesterday to CSX President and Chief Executive Officer James Foote, the governor said he was putting the Class I on notice for its failure to rebuild the bridge, which crosses the Sauquoit Creek. "CSX's actions and omissions have resulted in a public health and safety hazard caused by conditions on your property, including a faulty bridge design," Cuomo's letter stated. "These conditions have resulted in flooding and property damage, constituting a nuisance that needs to be immediately remedied in order to protect the public's health and safety."The letter noted that the bridge problems are not new, with flooding a "common occurrence" due to a faulty bridge design that results in debris and ice buildup creating a health and safety hazard.New York state and local officials have discussed their concerns with CSX leaders numerous times — and the railroad has acknowledged the hazard that the bridge creates, according to the letter. "To date, however, CSX has not confirmed that it will replace this bridge," Cuomo wrote. "The chronic nature of the problem makes clear, however, that piecemeal actions will not suffice. The bridge must be replaced."In response to Cuomo's letter, a CSX spokesman said in an email that the company has continued open lines of communication with local authorities in an effort to find a solution to the issues.
"We have operated trains over Sauquoit Creek Bridge for more than 100 years and believe there are multiple factors that have contributed to the flooding, including upstream development that has occurred over the years," the CSX spokesman said. "We are in receipt of the letter from Gov. Cuomo's office which contain assertions that are factually incorrect. We are extremely disappointed with the manner in which the governor has chosen to address these concerns and will respond accordingly."