Letter from Howard Staiman, Stuart
It's interesting that guest columnist Michael Fort ("Retire provincial attitudes; think about great future, July 27) considers anyone who opposes the All Aboard Florida express rail project "hicks, shortsighted, and ridiculous." This is an old debate trick; if you haven't a winning argument, denigrate and belittle the other side.
The guest columnist provides no basis or facts to support his assertion that AAF will create statewide economic benefits. Nor does he provide backup for his claim that there are 50 million trips a year between Orlando and Miami, or how many such travelers would ride AAF. Basically, all he has done is present a rosy pie in the sky without any substance.
The writer fails to point out that there has never been a profitable express rail project in the United States (consider Amtrak and BART); or elsewhere in the world that doesn't require a continuing infusion of government funding to operate.
Furthermore, he fails to note that AAF recently had a bond offering in the public market where it had to offer the prospective purchasers a 12 percent interest rate as inducement to sell these bonds. A bond with a 12 percent interest rate is commonly known as a "junk" bond. If AAF has such wonderful prospects, why did the investors require such an excessive interest rate?
One final point: AAF has not been forthcoming in dealing with the public. As an example, when asked for the backup information for its request to the Federal Railroad Administration for a $1.5 billion loan, AAF filed a lawsuit claiming the information was a trade secret. Can someone explain to me how a corporation that doesn't engage in a trade or business; has no income and won't have any for several years has a protectable trade secret?