LAWSUITS AGAINST ALL ABOARD FLORIDA TO BE HEARD MAY 29TH- WASHINGTON

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 6:45am

Lisa Broadt - TCPalm

Martin and Indian River counties will ask a Washington, D.C., federal judge May 29 to block issuance of tax-exempt bonds to All Aboard Florida.

It’s essential that sale of the bonds — key financing for the passenger rail project — be delayed as Indian River County pursues more permanent legal action, according to Dylan Reingold, county attorney.

“If the bonds are sold, then the merits of our case would be meaningless. The case is done the second the bonds are issued,” Reingold said Monday, shortly after filing for the temporary injunction.

Martin and Indian River counties over the last month have filed separate but similar lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The counties argue DOT erred when, in December, it approved the sale of $1.75 billion dollars of state-issued, tax-exempt bonds for All Aboard Florida. They want the court to nullify that approval and permanently block DOT from approving private-activity bonds for All Aboard Florida, according to officials from Martin and Indian River counties.

All Aboard Florida is relying on the tax-exempt bonds to fund many of the infrastructure improvements needed to run 32 trains a day through the Treasure Coast on its Miami-to-Orlando route by 2017.

The time and location of the hearing was set during a telephone conference Tuesday.

A federal judge during that hearing also approved All Aboard Florida’s request to join Indian River County’s lawsuit as a third-party defendant.

All Aboard Florida needs to join the suit to protect its unique interests — the suit could harm the passenger-rail project’s financing and progress, and U.S. DOT and All Aboard Florida’s goals do not wholly coincide — the private company said in court documents.

Martin County has not requested an injunction but has until May 4 to do so, according to court documents.