Two years ago, Martin and Indian River Counties filed federal lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to stop the inappropriate use of taxpayer subsidized bonds to construction All Aboard Florida's high-speed passenger rail project.
AAF and DOT announced to withdraw the $1.75 billion in Private Activity Bond, in which U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper dismissed said lawsuits.
Judge Cooper stated, "The Court thus finds that removing PABs from the equation would significantly increase the likelihood that AAF would be unable or unwilling to proceed with Phase II, thereby averting Plaintiff's claimed injury.
"This has been a major victory for the Florida counties because after dismissing the cases, the Court issued a stern warning to DOT that should it issue another PAB (Private Activity Bond) allocation to the project without first complying with the nation's environmental laws, stating "if DOT were to do so, Plaintiffs could be readily call it to the carpet by renewing their lawsuits in this Court."
"This is a success story and a hard-fought win for our community, and it confirms our thoughtful litigation strategy was successful," County Attorney Sarah Woods said.
Martin County is assessing its next legal steps, as well as any new efforts from AAF to apply for PABs that inappropriately use taxpayer dollars for Phase II of the project.
For more resources and information on the many local and regional issues of concern relating to the proposed AAF passenger rail project, including presentations, studies, letters of concern to state and federal agencies and more, go here.