SUMMARY OF FEDERAL DOT’S OPPOSITION TO MARTIN COUNTY’S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 8:15pm

1. Martin County’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction should be denied because DOT’s allocation of $1.7 billion in private activity bonds was legally proper. 26 U.S.C. Section 142(m)(1)(A) provides that private activity bonds may be allocated for “qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities” which includes “any surface transportation project which receives Federal assistance under the same statute.

2. Martin County has failed to demonstrate standing before this Court for any of their claims because the injuries they allege, which relate to the operation of the All Aboard Florida project, are not fairly traceable to the action of the DOT in awarding AAF $1.7 billion in private activity bonds.

3. Martin County’s claims lack merit because the AAF project was eligible for $1.7 billion in private activity bonds because the AAF project is a “surface transportation project” that receives Federal assistance under 
26 U.S.C. 142(m)(1)(a). The federal agency’s interpretation of this statute is consistent with its plain language.

4. Martin County’s NEPA claim is also without merit because NEPA does not apply to DOT’s awarding private activity bonds to AAF. All of Martin County’s alleged harms relate to AAF’s operation of their proposed rail line when it becomes operational.

5. Lastly, the balance of harms and the public interest favor the federal government because, although a revocation of the private activity bonds allocation would not stop the project from going forward, it would make the project more expensive, in direct contravention of the purposes of 26 U.S.C. 142.

6. For these reasons Martin County’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction should be denied.