By Isadora Rangel TCPalm
U.S. Rep. Bill Posey is asking federal officials to investigate All Aboard Florida’s request for a $1.5 billion loan. The Rockledge Republican sent a letter Thursday requesting the U.S. Government Accountability Office initiate a study of the high-speed rail’s potential risks and costs to taxpayers, as well as what are appropriate interest rates for the pending loan. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, supported the initiative with his own letter later in the day.
Posey said the agency, which investigates how the government spends money, prompted the U.S. Department of Transportation to deny a loan last year to XpressWest for bullet trains between Las Vegas and Southern California after an agency review found the project would cost more than originally proposed.
The DOT still is reviewing All Aboard’s loan application.
“I believe it is well advised to have similar review for all significant loans where taxpayers are on the hook for any potential losses,” Posey, who represents Indian River and southern Brevard counties, wrote.
Posey, who’s up for re-election in November, is the latest lawmaker to write to federal and state officials about All Aboard Florida.
After co-signing a letter to the DOT in support of the project last year, Murphy wrote letters this year raising concerns to transportation officials and the U.S. Coast Guard.
State Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, sent a letter last month asking state Attorney General Pam Bondi to look into a lease between All Aboard and the Central Florida Expressway Authority for right of way along Beachline Expressway between Cocoa Beach and Orlando.
Altman contends the terms of the agreement would prevent All Aboard from opening stations in Brevard and Indian River counties because of a provision that penalizes the company if the trains reduce vehicle traffic on the toll expressway.