Sen. Dockery to Rick Scott: Don't just listen to SunRail lobbyists
Sen. Paula Dockery is still taking aim at what she says is the boondoggle of Central Florida commuter rail, SunRail and she's prevailing on Gov. Rick Scott to get in touch with the grassroots to kill the deal. Her letter:
Dear Governor Scott,
Some individuals from Central Florida have launched a well-funded lobbying campaign aimed at pushing forward the SunRail Freight/Commuter Rail project. I’m aware that you’ve held meetings with the proponents of this Freight/Commuter project that will be heavily funded by Florida’s taxpayers.
As you know, I was an ardent supporter of the High Speed Rail (HSR) project. I know that during that decision making process you met with the opponents of that project, and you ultimately decided to end HSR in Florida. The three reasons you gave were:
First – capital cost overruns;
Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur; and
Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the taxpayers will have to repay federal money.
As we move forward, and in an effort to make future strategic transportation decisions, I respectfully request that you agree to a meeting with local government officials and constituents from Central Florida who are opposed to the SunRail project. I know that they share my grave concerns regarding this project. Among those concerns:
*the exorbitant cost which will result in increased taxes at the local level;
*no guarantee of the federal money, which is a very small percentage of the overall project cost;
the low ridership projections for trains that will not go to the airport, Disney World, University of Central Florida, or International Drive;
*and the egregious liability provisions that will put the taxpayers of the State of Florida on the hook for the negligence of a for-profit corporation in the event of an incident involving freight/commuter trains, even if the freight operator is negligent.
These taxpayers deserve an opportunity to express their concerns to you, even though they do not have the money to pay for an ad campaign or employ an army of lobbyists. They have been unable to get an audience with you. I am asking that you hear the other side of the issue as all Floridians will be better served if you have the facts prior to taking any action.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to hearing from you.