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Atwater wants SunRail special session

WASHINGTON - Senate President Jeff Atwater said today that he wants a special session on rail issues in December, contending the state must act on SunRail and TriRail in order to show the federal government it is serious about a $2.5 billion stimulus request for high speed rail.

Translation: Atwater thinks he has the votes to get the measure out of the state Senate, the death chamber for SunRail.

Atwater met with federal transportation officials today in Washington, along with fellow state Sens. J.D. Alex ander and Al Lawson and U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and George LeMieux. Nelson said he and LeMieux would do whatever necessary to persuade state legislators that the two issues are interconnected.

"This is a solution that is begging for action," Nelson said during a 2 p.m. news conference. Added LeMieux, "Shame on us if we give up $2.5 billion and an opportunity to transform the way we get around Florida and the way we do business in Florida. I don't think this will happen. These great leaders from theFlorida Senate are working hard to not make it a missed opportunity. And I know that the House stands in support as well."

-- Alex Leary