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Sen. Dockery to Rick Scott: listen to the people, not just lobbyists, on SunRail

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.

 Warm regards,

 

Comments

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Angry Taxpayer

She is against it because unlike the HSR Doc Enterprises own no land next to railroad tracks and proposed stations. Do an overlay and then ask her.

james smithson

Dockery is right!
Ax the SunRail Tax.
Kill it.

Doc Dockery

Angry taxpayer you do the overlay. I'll give you $25,000 if you can show that I own any land next to "railroad tracks and proposed stations." Doc Dockery

Doc Dockery

Don't own any property near HSR line, never have. Own a home in south Lakeland on a one half acre lot in a fully developed residential area. Own a citrus grove six miles south of Groveland, Fl, about 25 miles north of HSR line in Green Swamp area of critical concern. Nothing to gain anywhere, anytime.

Thorn

Give 'em hell Doc. Time to put that issue to rest!

Rosemary Goudreau

There it is again – the bugaboo that somehow, because he cares about moving Florida into the 21st Century, Doc Dockery would somehow profit if Florida were to build the nation’s first leg of high-speed rail – a transportation modality available throughout Europe, Japan and China, with more projects slated for India, Australia and beyond.

It doesn’t matter that Doc has poured his energies into this initiative for more than 20 years, serving on the first Florida High Speed Rail Commission and developing a reputation as “the godfather of Florida’s high-speed rail effort.” Indeed, Doc felt so strongly about the Florida Legislature’s refusal to begin planning the first leg of high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando – as required by law – that he invested his own money to pass a state constitutional amendment that forced them to move forward.

It’s tough for critics to understand men like Doc because today, so many people are only involved in politics for personal gain. So it’s understandable why someone might be suspicious. But after so many years of raising this red herring, it’s time for critics to put up or shut up. Call in The Donald, if need be!

Meanwhile, thanks, Doc, for once again offering a sizable sum to anyone who can pony up proof that you own land next to some future station. (Don’t they realize the vast majority of the route runs down the median of Interstate 4?)

If only the truth could finally put the slur to rest. For some, the facts will never be good enough. But for those of us who believe in the future of high-speed rail, thank you, Doc, for continuing to fight the good fight.

Natalie Hall

For some, like our governor, the facts are just a nuisance to be ignored. Who needs them when you have biased think tanks pressuring you. It all looks too cosy with CSX now that Gov. Scott has hired their general counsel as his own general counsel and who admitted that he provided false information to the governor about the HSR line.
We should be forever grateful for Senator Dockery and her husband for all the work they have done in the interests of the public with nothing at all to gain for themselves. Angry taxpayer should direct his wrath to the governor and his cronies who seem to only feign interest in protecting the taxpayers while they feed big business at the public trough.
The Sunrail project was developed for the benefit of CSX, not the public. Why else would it have been planned entirely in secrecy?

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