The TC Palm – Indian River commissioners vote on expensive step to battle All Aboard Florida
Posted on March 18, 2015
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — County commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to go to federal court in their effort to block All Aboard Florida.
The county will challenge the U.S. Department of Transportation’s authorization for issuing $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds.
The county will claim DOT acted before the completion of all required reviews, including an environmental impact evaluation of the All Aboard Florida project, County Attorney Dylan Reingold told commissioners.
From a litigation standpoint, Reingold said, suing in U.S. District Court was one of the best avenues to combat All Aboard Florida.
But it will be costly. Reingold estimated it would cost $600,000 to pursue a federal complaint.
Commissioners approved moving ahead with the lawsuit without discussion.
Reingold said he expected All Aboard Florida and the U.S. DOT to oppose the complaint. The county already has received two “significant” public records requests for documents from a South Florida law firm representing All Aboard Florida. Similar requests were made in Martin County — indicating All Aboard Florida is concerned about the Treasure Coast’s actions, Reingold said.
“Clearly, All Aboard Florida deems us to be a threat,” Reingold said.
While Indian River County’s lawsuit may be the first seeking to block the $3 billion high-speed passenger rail project, it likely won’t be the last. The opposition group CARE FL last week said it was prepared to file a federal lawsuit if the final environmental impact statement on All Aboard Florida didn’t reflect fundamental changes to the project.
CARE officials estimated their lawsuit could cost up to $3 million.
Martin County commissioners also have authorized spending up to $1.4 million for legal action to stop All Aboard Florida’s plan to run 32 trains a day through the Treasure Coast on it Miami-to-Orlando corridor.