Brevard Commission Voted 3-2 to Approve Raising Bond Limit For All Aboard Florida

Publish Date: 
Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 2:00pm

3 BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS VOTED YES TO ALL ABOARD FLORIDA FINANCING PLAN - Comm. Bolin Lewis, Andy Anderson, and Robin Fisher voted yes.

The Brevard County Commission tsupported a financing plan to help All Aboard Florida develop its passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando.

The vote was 3-2, with Commissioners Trudie Infantini and Chuck Nelson voting no.
 

Under the proposal, Brevard County and its cities and towns would be given a seven-year reprieve from the cost of maintaining rail crossings in exchange for its help securing $7,500,000 tax-exempt, private activity bonds…AAF would like Brevard to sell out against their Treasure Coast neighbors, Vero Beach, Jupiter Island, Stuart, Indian River, Martin County, Jupiter City, Sebastian, Port St Lucie, and Tequesta......and everyone who lives in between.

BREVARD RESIDENTS - CALL TO ACTION 9 PM OCT 21ST. Complete ridership information should be released by Florida DOT & the Governors' office BEFORE ANY DECISION IS MADE BY THE BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSION
Here is the scoop on BOCC member's stance and who is still running for office.

Send auto emails to the BOCC here: http://bit.ly/1vrQ5ne, AND SHARE, SHARE, SHARE.

Robin Fisher - he is PRO All Aboard Florida
Phone: 321 264-6750

Trudie Infantini - Trudie is AGAINST All Aboard Florida
Phone: 321-952-6300

Mary Bolin Lewis - she is retiring - we are asking her not to throw Brevard under the bus on her way out the door.
Phone: 321-633-2044

Chuck Nelson - he is also retiring - we are also asking to keep Brevard's best interests in mind.
Phone: 321 454-6601

Andy Anderson is waffling - our letter to him is one of encouragement.
Phone: 321-253-6611

WHEN: 10/21/2014 meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. This item is on the agenda to be discussed at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Government Center Commission Room, Building C 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida

7 MEETING TALKING POINTS FOR EACH OF THE SEVEN YEARS

1. THERE IS A COST TO TAXPAYERS FOR THE RIFF LOAN APPLICATION THAT IS STILL PENDING. This approach is deeply inappropriate, as it would force taxpayers to pay huge subsidies to support AAF’s $1.6 billion request. This RIFF loan, if granted, would be a direct payment of taxpayers dollars by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to AAF. If this loan goes into default, United States taxpayers assumes all liability.

2. TAX EXEMPT BONDS ARE A FORM OF TAXPAYER SUBSIDY. All Aboard Florida has filed an additional application with the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC) for an allocation to sell tax-exempt bonds to finance their rail project. AAF IS PUSHING BREVARD FOR AN IMMEDIATE VOTE. So what is the hurry? AAF is afraid of the impending election next month and with it the possibility that election results may reduce state and local support. In this bond application to the FDFC, All Aboard is asking that its interest payments be exempt from Federal taxes. Income from these bonds would be tax free to the bondholder. Normally, these types of bonds are issued from a clear, transparent and definable public benefit such as hospitals, schools, municipal buildings, roads and similar projects. Recently, select companies are enjoying tax breaks normally reserved for public works. These unusual projects come at the expense of taxpayer. Budget analysts quote by The New York Times state that these bonds amount to a government subsidy. That subsidy takes the form of lost tax revenues. When these programs are taken as a whole nationwide, lost revenues to our government runs in the billions. For example, if All Aboard Florida were to issue taxable bonds instead, then the Federal government would receive tax revenues on these bonds. The PAB approach is a disservice to Florida citizens.

3. THERE IS NO TRANSPARENCY. Taxpayers (Florida and U.S.) have not been presented with information detailing how much Private Activity Bond funding would cost in terms of lost tax revenue, which is the natural byproduct of any tax-exempt bond. Nor it is clear how taxpayers would be impacted if AAF defaults on the PAB and fails to repay – and given that passenger trains, historically, don’t make money that is a very real possibility. IN ADDITION, it is common for these select companies to ask for a waiver of sales taxes and any activities or products they buy. In some instances, they have also asked to be exempt from real estate taxes. It is not known if All Aboard Florida has asked the FDFC for either of these two additional subsidies in their loan application.

According to Steve Ryan of CARE FL, "The PAB financing bid is just another example of AAF trying to manipulate the public. The same applies to the RRIF loan. Both are financial rip-offs cloaked in slick marketing doubletalk."

4. The key to receiving a tax-exempt bond allocation is in DEFINING ITS PUBLIC PURPOSE OR BENEFIT. That definition is left up to the state hosting the project. In this case, Governor Rick Scott and his administration will make that decision, if he is reelected. There IS NO BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITIES ON THE TREASURE COAST. Most labor for the project will come from out of state workers, and they will leave at completion taking their paychecks with them.

5. THE ALL ABOARD FLORIDA PROJECT TAKEN AS WHOLE WILL PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT PROFITS FOR THEMSELVES. In additional, their freight business, FECI, with new and improved tracks, will be able to ramp up those freight trains to speeds up to 79 mph as compared to their current average speed of 37 mph. Of course, those residents within hearing distance of the tracks will experience a significant increase in noise levels, destructive vibration levels, and safety risks at these higher speeds. Additionally, the AMOUNT OF FREIGHT TRAFFIC WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED, creating more traffic congestion.

6. History and demographics clearly demonstrate there will not be sufficient passenger ridership to justify these loans. Therefore, complete, detail ridership information should be released by Florida DOT and the Governors' office BEFORE ANY DECISION IS MADE BY THE BREVARD COUNTY COMMISSION. The public has the right to be informed. This ridership information should be made available for an objective, professional review. Additionally, the public benefits and detriments must be carefully weight and debated. Many, many lives are being impacted.

7. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE 7 YEAR CONTRACT IS UP – THE CITIZENS PAY AND PAY AND PAY. Under the proposal, Brevard County and its cities and towns would be given a seven-year reprieve from the cost of maintaining rail crossings in exchange for its help securing the tax-exempt, private activity bond.

Don’t sell out your neighbors for this bone.