Rail enterprise leader is leaving Florida Department of Transportation
Nazih Haddad, chief operating officer of the Florida Rail Enterprise, is leaving his job at the state Department of Transportation. Haddad's announcement comes just a month after Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal money to build a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. The bullet train was the enterprise's largest responsibility.
In an e-mail to family and friends with the subject line "Time to Move on," Haddad said he is taking a job working for the Qatar Railways Company. He will be responsible for development of a $26 billion light rail, high-speed rail and freight rail system set to be completed before Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022. Haddad, who has worked at DOT for more than 30 years, said the job has been in the works for months, but he was reluctant to accept the position when high speed rail was on the horizon for Florida. Now, of course, that's not an issue.
"I am disappointed we were not successful in bringing HSR to fruition in Florida but proud of the superb effort and of the great team we brought together with over one hundred and fifty extremely dedicated people from both inside and outside the Department to undertake the project," Haddad wrote.
Meanwhile, Scott still hasn't appointed anyone to head the Florida Department of Transportation, even though the Florida Transportation Commission recommended three picks for the job on Feb. 11.
Scott did, though, appoint two people on Monday to the Florida Transportation Commission: Manny Marono, the mayor of Sweetwater and an early Scott supporter; and Jay Trumbull, of Panama City, the president of Culligan Water,.