The TC Palm: Letter: Lack of feasibility is bottom line in argument against All Aboard Florida

Posted on September 21, 2015

Nicholas Schaus, Vero Beach

Regarding the points Rich Campbell makes (Aug. 30 column) in conceding that All Aboard Florida can’t be stopped:

— Judge Cooper in Washington rejected a temporary injunction to block issuance of tax-exempt AAF bonds. However, please note that he also rejected a motion to dismiss by AAF and agreed to an expedited freedom of information inquiry and discovery of the Department of Transportation and AAF: more to come from this.

— Naturally, the environmental impact statement glossed over pertinent facts because as the editorial emphases the President and his executive branch have signed on to “high speed rail”; Wait, there must be approvals by agencies such as the Coast Guard and Fish & Wildlife.

— The Florida Development Finance Corp. authorized the issuance of tax-exempt bonds following orders from Tallahassee and Washington. How about the legal actions brought by Martin and Indian River Counties?

Yes, as Campbell writes, the 32 trains a day project might come to fruition — especially if more judges are found who have been appointed recently and are familiar with: “The Federal Government is predisposed to facilitate completion of the Miami Orlando project.”

There is also a state plan led by Gov. Scott, who in 2011 was assured by AAF that it could design, finance, build and operate a passenger rail line between Miami and Orlando — if it received “government cooperation.”

Campbell agrees that history shows AAF cannot be profitable, as every passenger train in the world requires a government subsidy to cover operating and capital costs.

Therefore, if the project is built; in a few years AAF will soon beckon the governor of Florida to Miami: “The engines are idling, the fuel gauges read empty, please hurry, and, Governor, bring the checkbook.”

As soon as the taxpayers fill the fuel tanks, the trains will run — forever. Forgive the pessimism.

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