Doc Dockery challenges high speed rail foes
Lakeland business man Doc Dockery, widely considered the father of high speed rail in Florida, today lashed out at critics of the proposed bullet train linking Tampa to Orlando. Most of the $2.6 billion in construction costs will be covered by federal stimulus money. Gov. Rick Scott has said he is reserving judgment on the project until he can be sure it won't be a burden on Florida taxpayers.
Last week, the anti-rail-tax outfit called Ax the Tax and the Florida Tea Party circulated a report from the Reason Foundation warning that the rail line is a boondoggle that could have construction cost overruns of up to $3 billion. The report also says potential operating losses could cost the state $2.6 billion. Click on the link below to see the full report.
Dockery, the husband of Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery, calls the Reason Foundation's report bunk. "The Florida Department of Transportation has said repeatedly in public meetings and in private conversations with potential bidders on the Tampa/Orlando high speed rail link that any bidder on the project must give a fixed price cost for designing, building, operating and maintaining the system. This means no cost overruns, which would become a liability of Florida taxpayers," Dockery said. "How can this be more plainly stated?"
As to ridership losses, private companies interested in bidding on the project have previously indicated they would be willing to eat those costs in exchange for the opportunity to build the country's first high speed rail line. Read more about that here.