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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Effort to save Florida rail project begins today



WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood plans to meet Thursday afternoon with members of the Florida delegation to develop a plan to salvage the high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa.

In preliminary discussions Wednesday, LaHood, Sen. Bill Nelson and others discussed the possibility of cities along the route forming a partnership to accept the money, or use some existing entity to do so, bypassing the state government. But that could be complicated and contentious.

Meantime, pro-rail forces are hoping the backlash from some in the Florida Legislature will cause Gov. Rick Scott to back down. Though the DOT said it would move to redistribute Florida's $2.4 billion, and some states eagerly got in line, there were also private assurances that Florida could work on a plan.

Today's meeting was being organized by Nelson and Rep. Corrine Brown, who was sending a letter inviting House members. Sen. Marco Rubio was also invited.


[Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 1:29pm]


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