17 Comments
Politics

All Aboard Florida Gaining Steam, Opponents Losing It

June 20, 2016 - 1:00pm

Since the announcement of the high-speed rail train project, All Aboard Florida (AAF) has been outflanked by its opponents when it comes to public relations. But on the legal front, AAF is winning the battle.

Earlier this month, a Leon County Circuit Court shot down another lawsuit brought by Indian River and Martin counties on challenging AAF’s financing of their train. The court insisted the counties had no subject matter jurisdiction and had failed to establish standing to challenge the Florida Development Finance Corporation’s decisions to issue Private Activity Bonds for the rail project.

Indian River and Martin counties have run up about $4.1 million in legal costs so far and now some local elected leaders along the Treasure Coast are making it a political issue.

Last week, at a political forum at the Republican Women's Club of Indian River County, there were questions about the wisdom of the latest lawsuit, which marks another time the county offered an unsuccessful legal challenge to AAF.

Vero Beach Mayor Jay Kramer insisted this was the fifth, not the third defeat for Indian River County against AAF. 

“If we are not going to win the lawsuits, then we need to be able to sit down and have a conversation with All Aboard Florida,” Kramer said.  

Kramer added it wasn’t good fiscal policy to continue to use taxpayers' money on lawsuits.

Susie Adams, the mayor of Fellsmere, has opposed AAF, but said new plans are needed because AAF continues to win legal battles. 

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari has been a leading critic of AAF and has backed the legal challenges. When asked about alternative plans to stop AAF,  Solari could not provide one. 

Local firefighter unions and law enforcement officials told Sunshine State News they are against AAF, but would prefer the County Commission to spend funds on public safety and other issues. 

But there are groups still against AAF and supporting continued lawsuits, including Citizens Against Rail Expansion (CARE) and Citizens Against The Train (CATT). 

After the recent court ruling, CARE noted “the fight against AAF is far from over” on its website.  

“We continue to actively pursue all possible legal, political and public communication channels to stop the ill-conceived AAF rail project that threatens the public safety and current way of life of communities throughout the Treasure Coast,” CARE stated. 


Ed Dean, a senior editor with SSN whose talk show can be heard on radio stations across Florida, can be reached at ed@sunshinestatenews.com.Follow him on Twitter: @eddeanradio

Comments

I have just read in absolute disgust for most part the comments made by people with about as much vision as a blind rat. Florida is already a state with a population in excess of 19 million people, and growing. It would not surprise me that a sizable number of these excessive millions are mindless cretins, starting with our fearless leader Governor S.I.R.S. (Super Idiot Rick Scott). Remember it was he who killed high speed rail, one of his first major decisions upon taking office. Florida desperately needs high speed rail as a viable option to atrociously congested city streets and highways. Yet these mindless cretins still advocate that we remain in our cars no matter what, that we continue to cover the state in concrete and asphalt, advancing the decimation of wildlife and natural habitat, just to name a few of the adverse issues both environmental and economical that can no longer be tolerated. I live in Tampa, an ever worsening traffic congestion disaster area. It is sadly unfortunate that Tampa is not part of the planning for this rail system. Welcome Welcome Welcome All Aboard Florida! Florida needs you.

CATT and CA32 are shell susidiaries of the guardians of martin county to funnel and launder money into this bogus cause. FNAA is a for profit company so KC can profit from her publicity.

This is about property rights. FEC has the right to expand and perform commerce on THEIR own property. There is NO vote, there are No options. You keep saying move them west. If this is what you want, pony up the money for FEC to purchase land and build a new ROW. And in the process you can kill the businesses that depend on the corridor for manufacturing and distribution. Look at how many spurs go to private property with locked fences for deliveries of materials and shipment of goods. What a bunch of idiots!

Its a shame that these kooks have nothing better to do than oppose AAF. There will be a day of reckoning where AAF will sue Martin and Indian River counties for all of the delays, additional expenses, and fees that were paid as a result of these lawsuits. Remember this when the counties file for bankruptcy and taxes skyrocket because of the passification of a few!

All of these lawsuits will fail. Paul Harrison has it exactly right. The "No growth" crazies who think it can be 1970 again are driving this myopic activity. AAF will be wildly successful if given a chance.

Wake up People it's time Florida got a high speed rail system.

Imagine the "anti-growth" Counties fighting a rail system that will take cars off the roadways. AAF now Brightline is needed in Florida which is particularly well-suited to high speed rail.

No one has to wait to ride the train. There IS a train that has been here for years that goes to Orlando. So if everyone really really want to ride to Orlando, they can. You and toodle right on down to WPB station and park your car and buy a ticket today. What is everybody waiting for? Where have you been. Our tax dollars already support it too. So do we need another that is going to soak us. And you would still park your car in WPB.

If you're talking about Amtrak, there's a service that provides two trains per day taking six hours or more to go from Miami to Orlando. Slow and inconvenient. Hardly comparable to what AAF will be offering.

We should already be doing 200mph on rail between Miami and Orlando... And not on CSX track as was proposed.

You fool, the trin is not about tourists...it is about freight.

Your right! It's all about the freight, bout that freight. Besides, who would really want to travel to our destinations? Alligators eat you in Orlando and the algae filled waters with bacteria where no one can swim or fish! Doesn't sound like a dream vacation any more. Paradise lost.

No, our glorious overlords are suing All Aboard Florida, which is a passenger system. To believe AAF is about freight, you have to believe that FECR would want the southern half of their railroad expanded with the Northern half untouched (despite all freight headed for the rest of the US going via the North), that they'd want it expanded to support only two additional trains (they're forecasting a need for 22 trains per day, up from 20 in 2008), and that they'd be happy with the track owned by a passenger rail company that - if it fails for any reason - will have to sell the track to satisfy creditors. The reason why our counties are suing AAF and trying to stop it is ultimately because they have some very rich opponents who are scared of change - rich opponents who are willing to donate anything to politicians' election funds if those politicians oppose the train. They know that if AAF is a success, people will demand stops on the Treasure Coast, and AAF will want development rights in exchange for building those stops. And the opponents do not want to see development on the Treasure Coast. They're called No Growthers for a reason. The $5M+ our counties are projected to spend on frivolous lawsuits against AAF are really being spent on promoting County Commissioners to a small group of anti-growth kooks. I wish they were facing real opposition this November, but our local politics is rigged in favor of these people.

And ..another Fool...!! Who can't spell correctly....

Thank God. Too many Treasure Coast residents enjoy Florida's low tax burden but don't want to accomodate the 100+ million tourists we get that pay taxes too. They keep our tax burden low. Most tourists come from other places where rail transit is very common and would prefer using AAF instead of a bus or rental car. WELCOME TOURISTS!!

Let them use Amtrak and save the taxpayer millions! Quicker and cheaper by car for a family anyway.

The whole reason is Amtrak takes too long and there are only 2 trains a day! Jackass!

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