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Federal Judge Shoots Down Challenge to All Aboard Florida Bonds

June 11, 2015 - 2:30pm

All Aboard Florida (AAF) won big this week as U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C., threw out a “temporary halt” to allegations brought by Martin and Indian River counties that would temporarily stop the Florida Development Finance Corp. (FDFC) from issuing private-activity bonds to AAF.

This decision ensures the high-speed passenger train will have the bonds to finance the $1.75 billion railroad from Miami to Orlando.

In the 21-page decision on Wednesday, Cooper dismissed the allegations by the two counties for “lack of standing.” The court stated that Martin and Indian River counties "stumbled" in proving their point as to what harm would come from the issuance of the private-activity bonds (PABs) and they could not even establish a relationship between bonds requested by AAF and any alleged harm.

The court also concluded that withholding issuance of the PABs would not redress the counties’ alleged environmental injuries.

All Aboard Florida officials said they were very pleased by the judge’s decision while Phyllis Frey from Citizens Against the Train (CATT) fired back with, “We will appeal.”

Opponents of AAF point toward the FDFC, insisting it is not even  a “legally” constituted board.

Frey noted that the majority of the FDFC board was not appointed by Enterprise Florida as required.

“This board was not appointed by Gov. Scott as required, were not bankers as required, and were not approved by the Senate as required. Therefore they were not a legally constituted board and not authorized to approve the Private-Activity Bonds,” Frey told Sunshine State News.

 But proponents of the rail expansion say  the court's ruling in the lawsuits brought by Martin County and Indian River County exposes the weakness in the strategy being pursued by those opposing this project.

One of those leading proponents of AAF is Jim Kovalsky, the president of the Florida East Coast Railway Society. He says that groups like CATT do nothing but promote “hysteria.” 

“In the public’s eyes, there are overwhelming benefits when it comes to All Aboard Florida and the vocal minority (CATT) spouts out myths, not fact,” Kovalsky told Sunshine State News. 

“How much money of the taxpayers' money was spent by the two counties to make their weak arguments?” he asked. 

AAF has stated that county governments would be wiser in using their resources to engage with AAF so the Treasure Coast can optimize benefits that could come to the region, such as quiet zones.

“But the issues dealing with the train, noise and safety concerns aren’t over yet,” says Frey. 

Opponents of AAF, including CATT, say that litigation and legal efforts remain active and will continue for the upcoming months.


Ed Dean, a senior editor with SSN whose talk-show can be heard on radio stations across Florida, can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @eddeanradio.



Can you say "boondoggle choo-choo", and spell "subsidy"? Because those terms will be in your vocabulary forevermore as Citizen-Taxpayers pay for. Florida's "Amtrack-like" "bullet-train" to nowhere; but fret not, "illegal alien invaders" will love long as your tax money keeps paying for it ! Oh, we know all about railroads,...they "went the way of the buffalo" with the arrival of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950's. "Politician" has become a dirty-word,..except to a Lobbyist ("follow the money" Folks !)

You posted this and didn't take even one second to find out what AAF is? - It's not subsidized. - Taxpayers don't have to pay for it. - The well documented problems with passenger rail in the '50s and '60s related to high taxes, ridiculous regulations, and the intentional running down of urban (public transit served) areas. Yet trains somehow survived and people keep demanding them. - AAF's ridership and revenue survey pretty much shows they'll be a roaring success. Here's an idea: if you don't want to ride it, don't. Stop demanding the rest of us drive all of the time. And stop demanding roads and airlines be subsidized, but trains be profitable.

All of these fearful claims are on the edge of lunacy in some cases. Most cases involve people who know very little about trains and railroads, but many are satisfied with rational answers. A good comparison would be the "surfline" in California. 20-40 trains a day some places near 90 mph with crossings, through some of the most densely populated areas in the United States and through some very high dollar communities. And they all get along fine, the communities thrive and everyone gets along just fine. Now for the "lunacy" claims. Tri Rail n south Florida has been running since 1989. Yet there is not one case of a school bus being hit or emergency responders. It's because those fearful claims are just that. Passenger trains will come and Stuart will be just fine.

Why do they need so many trains? Do they really need 32 trains a day? If they go bust will the tax Payers of Florida have to pay there debts? Have they answered all these questions?

Yes, these questions HAVE been answered. The number of trains allows for once-an-hour service in each direction, making the trip convenient for people at any time of the day between 6a and 10p. The taxpayers have ZERO liability as the Private Activity Bonds are only the responsibility of All Aboard Florida. The taxpayers have no way to be "on the hook".

I have watched an old women take 7 min to walk across the crossing with her walker to get groceries at the Barefoot Bay crossing. Old people don't have a chance against All Aboard.

if it takes someone 7 minutes to cross the tracks, it would take an hour to cross a six -lane road. Do you think she would survive that? hint.....NO!

The federal government can only protect our borders in case of an invasion immigration according to the Supreme Court was a rule not to be invasion so it becomes the state responsibility Arizona officials filed the lawsuit in 1994 to recover more than $121 million that they said the state was owed for illegal immigrants serving time in prison... The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider arguments that the U.S. government must pay up because it has failed to meet its constitutional obligation to protect states from an "invasion" of illegal border crossers... Charles Frederick Tolbert Ed.D. Candidate for US Senate Florida 2016 CFABANP PO Box 23935 Ft Lauderdale, Florida 33307 561 398 9025

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