Dockery joins 'strange bedfellow' in SunRail fight
Behind an "Ax the Tax" sign and a bank of microphones, state Sen. Paula Dockery continued her assault on the proposed commuter rail legislation, launching into a 40-minute number-laden dissertation at a news conference that left a Capitol press corps weary.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate specifically took issue with the $44 million the state transportation department already spent on the SunRail project even before the legislation received approval. The bulk of the cost is legal expenses but she questioned the $265,561.01 given to MyRegion.org, a group that she said brought (by bus and plane) people to Tallahassee to lobby in favor of the project.
She also rattle off huge figures that she said local governments in Central Florida will have to pay to bring the project to their areas. Volusia County: $131 million. City of Orlando: $67.9 million. Seminole County: $229 million.
Dockery, who supports high-speed rail and money to bailout troubled Tri-Rail in South Florida, said the bill changed little from the previous session when language indemnifying CSX from any liability helped kill it. "That has not been changed and in this bill it's as bas as it was in previous years," she said.
As for her alliance with the "Ax the Tax" group, which opposes high-speed rail and is led by controversial Orlando political consultant Doug Guetzloe, she said, "on any big issue that comes before the Florida Legislature you often times have strange bedfellows. I would think on most issues that the group behind me and I are probably 99 percent in agreement."