December 1, 2009
Amid continuous discussions of commuter rail projects, the presiding officers of the Florida Legislature reached an agreement late yesterday to hold a special session in consideration of the matter.
Governor Charlie Crist and legislative leaders want to pass a $2.1 billion SunRail commuter train system linking DeLand and Poinciana, and find $27 million in operating costs for the ailing Tri-Rail commuter system in South Florida. The special session, scheduled for December 3rd - 11th, is being called in hopes of convincing the federal government that Florida is committed to rail. State legislators are urged to approve funds for the rail projects expeditiously as federal grants will be announced in January. The state could receive up to a $ 2.5 billion dollar windfall from the federal government to fund “shovel ready” rail projects.
Late yesterday afternoon, Senate President Jeff Atwater (R-Palm Beach) released a summary of the details surrounding the bill. In light of past criticisms, President Atwater maintains that this is not simply a rewrite of last year’s legislation. Current plans include a reworking of the state’s liability, elimination of a proposed rental car surcharge, and the establishment of the Florida Rail Enterprise.
AIF will continue to keep our members updated as information is released. Continue to check our site for daily briefs and the latest updates regarding the upcoming special session.