New opposition group presses Scott for action on All Aboard Florida

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 5:00pm

By Arnie Rosenberg Full Article at the TCPalm

A coalition of communities and private clubs is taking up the fight against All Aboard Florida. Mariner Sands Country Club and Loblolly, both in Martin County; Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens; and Jonathan’s Landing and the Club at Admiral’s Cove, both in Jupiter, have contributed money to the cause, hired professionals to run the campaign and made their first foray into the continuing controversy with a letter Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott.

“As the highest elected official of our great state, Gov. Scott, we fully — and respectfully — expect you to not just consider our concerns, but to respond in a thoughtful and open fashion in keeping with the charge of your office and the expectation of Florida voters.”

The organization wants a meeting with the governor or his staff. But Scott on Tuesday did not seem inclined agree.

“As the Federal Railroad Administration is the lead regulatory agency for All Aboard Florida, the governor has called on federal officials to extend the comment period on their environment-impact statement to a minimum of 90 days to ensure families’ voices are heard,” said John Tupps, the governor’s press secretary. “This project is a private venture that is using zero state funds. Gov. Scott has had no role in its finance or development.”

The coalition’s letter also cites safety concerns and issues facing maritime interests, and questions whether All Aboard Florida is a private enterprise or “a hybrid that relies on community funding.”

If that’s the case, the letter tells Scott, “let’s talk about that openly and honestly so that Floridians can understand — clearly and up front — exactly what those costs are and who, precisely, is expected to pay for them.”

“It doesn’t feel like there’s been adequate response to our concerns,” he said. “Our goal is to be taken seriously.”

The coalition chose a letter to Scott as its initial approach, even though the same concerns have been raised repeatedly for months.

“The public forums sometimes have been a bit rancorous and not always productive,” Ward said.