CARE FLORIDA ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING CONGRESSMAN POSEYS LETTER TO USDOT

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 2:15pm

Statement by: Brent Hanlon, Chairman of Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida
RE:  Cong. Bill Posey’s letter to USDOT Sec. Foxx questioning AAF’s use of Louis Berger Group ridership and revenue study
 
“Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida applauds Congressman Bill Posey for shining a light on allegations of what he characterized as the ‘illegal and unethical behavior by the Louis Berger Group, Inc.’ – the firm that All Aboard Florida used to perform its ridership and revenue study.
 
“Cong. Posey’s letter to the U.S. DOT points out that the Louis Berger Group has been debarred by the World Bank for ‘engaging in corrupt practices under two Bank-Financed projects’, and notes that the firm also ‘pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. Agency for International Development in a scheme that involved overbilling the U.S. government.’
 
“Further, Cong. Posey’s letter also points out that on March 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims found that another Louis Berger entity, Louis Berger Aircraft Services, ‘is part of a family of corporations that has intentionally hidden its history of public corruption scandals through misrepresentations, false certifications, and a scheme to avoid reporting requirements.’  Taking all of this information together, Cong. Posey questions whether the Louis Berger Group can be a ‘responsible and reliable contracting partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation.’
 
“And Cong. Posey isn’t the only federal legislator who has addressed this issue.  In January 2015, Senator Bob Corker, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, sent to the U.S. Agency for International Development (‘USAID’) requesting the USAID evaluate whether it should suspend or debar the Louis Berger Group based on the company’s track record of public corruption.
 
“CARE FL raised a red flag about the reliability of Louis Berger Group’s ridership projections in 2015 when it commissioned its own analysis by Dr. John Friedman, a Brown University professor and former White House advisor.  In his analysis, Dr. Friedman concluded: ‘Clearly these AAF projections do not line up with the experience of long-distance rail in the United States.’
 
“CARE FL strongly believes the U.S. DOT suspension and debarment office should closely review this documented history of the Louis Berger Group before AAF receives hundreds of millions (or billions) of dollars in federal subsidies in the form of a RRIF loan or Private Activity Bonds, based on the ridership and revenue projections of the Louis Berger Group.
 
“When you add up all the facts the AAF project amounts to nothing more than taxpayer funded boondoggle that is far from over. Rest assured CARE FL will continue to draw a ‘bright line’ through the misinformation AAF continues to feed the public. ”