Lack of Transparency

GOVENOR SCOTT'S HUGE, HIDDEN STAKE IN CHINESE COMPANY SUPPLYING MAKER OF BRIGHTLINE TRAINS

THE SCOTTS HAD AN GARGANTUAN FINANCIAL STAKE IN A CHINESE RAILWAY COMPANY THAT SO HAPPENS TO SUPPLY COMPONENTS TO THE U.S. CONTRACTOR BUILDING BRIGHTLINE, a high-speed passenger rail project that Gov. Rick Scott strongly backed.

The company Quingdao Victall Railway Group Co. Ltd. became an interest in October 2014 when it partnered with Scott's company, Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) to form a 50-50 joint venture. In January of 2017, CSP was sold to the Japanese conglomerate Teijin for $825 million.

CARE FL - RICK SCOTT KILLS ONE TRAIN FOR ANOTHER - A MUST-READ ARTICLE REGARDING ALL ABOARD FLORIDA

Dear Loblolly members,
below is an interesting, must-read article taken from the Miami Herald and Tamps Bay Times regarding All Aboard Florida.  

TALLAHASSEE

As one of his first acts in office in 2011, Gov. Rick Scott canceled a $2.4 billion federally funded and shovel-ready bullet train from Orlando to Tampa because it carried “an extremely high risk of overspending taxpayer dollars with no guarantee of economic growth.’’

RICK SCOTT KILLED A HIGH-SPEED RAIL PLAN. THEN ALL ABOARD ROLLED UP AND HE BOUGHT IT.

ONE OF GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT'S FIRST ACTS WAS THE CANCELATION OF A $2.4 BILLION FEDERALLY FUNDED HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT, saying it was "an extremely high risk of overspending taxpayer dollars with no guarantee of economic growth." Apparently he "switched gears," as he and his wife last year invested at least $3 million in a credit fund for All Aboard Florida's parent company, Fortress Investment Group, according to recently disclosed financial documents.

TRI-RAIL AND BRIGHTLINE RISK MISSING DEADLINE FOR TRAIN SAFETY SYSTEM

BRIGHTLINE AND TRI-RAIL ARE AT RISK OF MISSING A MANDATED DEADLINE OF INSTALLING A CRITICAL SAFETY SYSTEM ON THEIR TRAINS AGAIN. Both companies are supposed to have the technology "positive train control" - which overrides humans to correct their errors before trains can derail, collide with other trains or work crews, or steer onto the wrong tracks - by Dec. 31, 2018.

Originally, Congress gave the railroads until 2015 to install this valuable technology, but the railroads protested and the deadline was moved to the end of 2018.

BRIGHTLINE BENEFITS FROM MALODOROUS STATE GOVERNMENT | OUR VIEW

IF YOU THINK BRIGHTLINE'S LATEST DEAL SMELLS BAD, YOU'RE CORRECT, The Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board states regarding the high-speed passenger rail's latest deal in which they received approval from the Orange County Commission - which converts more than 100 acres to wetlands along the Beachline Expressway for their Miami to Orlando extension - thanks to John Miklos.

SHOULD THIS BRIGHTLINE 'CONFLICT OF INTEREST' BE ALLOWED TO STAND?

IT'S PRETTY CONVENIENT THAT THE BOARD CHAIRMAN OF AN AGENCY CHARGED WITH APPROVING YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT PLAN HAPPENS TO ALSO BE YOUR BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR CONSULTANT, states Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News. Smith is referring to John Miklos who represented All Aboard Florida, president of the private environmental firm, Bio-Tech Consulting, and is the appointed head of the St. John's River Water Management District - the state regulatory board that reviewed and approved the Brightline project to convert 100-plus wetlands acres for new rail lines.

TOO MANY QUESTIONS FOR NORTHERN BRIGHTLINE EXPANSION

THERE IS A LOT MORE TO THE BRIGHTLINE HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROPOSAL THAN WHAT HAS BEEN REPORTED, writes Robert Cannon of the Palm Beach Post. Tune into Cannon's article as he addresses concerns about the addition of a second set of tracks at 100+ intersections and large bridges.

Read more here.

TRAIN WRECK TIMES - NEWS FLASH!

TRAIN WRECK TIMES by Susan Mehiel

NEWS FLASH!

Well, this just couldn’t wait.  We had a major victory in our efforts to Stop The Trains! this week with the release of the attached letter to Transportation Secretary Choa.  We could not have asked for a better outcome from our work in Washington and the subcommittee hearing last month.  In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the letter sent to the Secretary from Congressman Meadows and signed by Congressmen Mast, Posey, DeSantis and Gaetz.

CONGRESSMEN CALL ON FEDS TO SUSPEND BRIGHTLINE BONDS

FIVE CONGRESSMEN CALLED ON FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS TO SUSPEND THE $1.15 BILLION IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS FOR ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S BRIGHTLINE PASSENGER RAIL, saying there are still a number of "yet-to-be answered questions" concerning Brightline's use of the bonds. These five include four Florida lawmakers and Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Government Operations.

CONGRESSMAN MEADOWS ON AAF FEDERAL FUNDING: 'WE CANNOT SUPPORT ... BLANK-CHECK AUTHORITY'

CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS MARK MEADOWS ASKED U.S. TRANSPORTATION SEC. ELAINE CHAO TO SUSPEND THE ALLOCATION OF ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS. This request was made in a letter that Meadows sent on May 16. This was following his subcommittee's April 19 hearing where he went in "with an open mind, but came away from it deeply troubled about (USDOT's) position."