Author Topic: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns  (Read 9124 times)

thelakelander

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Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« on: April 07, 2009, 09:14:51 AM »
Quote
By Bill Rufty
Ledger POLITICAL EDITOR

Published: Monday, April 6, 2009 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 1:27 a.m.

LAKELAND | C.C. "Doc" Dockery, the godfather of the most recent attempt to create high-speed rail across Florida, has resigned from the Florida High Speed Rail Authority.

The Lakeland businessman's resignation letter to HSRA chairman Lee Chira of Orlando exhibited frustration over Gov. Charlie Crist's failure to publicly endorse Florida's application for part of the $8 billion in federal high-speed rail construction money.

Two states - Florida and California - are far enough along with high-speed rail plans to apply for the money, Chira said.

The Florida Department of Transportation said it will look at applying, but Crist has not responded to pleas from Chira and other members of the authority to reappoint members whose terms have expired and to publicly support application for the billions of dollars in federal construction money.

Although their terms are expired, authority members continue to serve until new appointments are made.

Crist's predecessor, Jeb Bush, fought high-speed rail and tried to get the authority to dissolve, but authority members refused. When he took office in 1999, Bush canceled plans for high speed rail.

In 2000, Dockery spent $3 million of his own money to get a constitutional amendment on the state ballot that required the state to build a high-speed rail system. Voters approved the amendment.

The Florida Legislature created the High Speed Rail Authority and Dockery was appointed as one of nine members. The authority selected a route for the first phase and completed an environmental report.

But Bush got the issue back on the ballot and voters removed the obligation to build.

Until the recent availability of federal high-speed rail money, the authority had not met for three years.

Dockery noted in his resignation letter that even with the DOT looking at the federal rail money, Crist has not endorsed the plan.

"Some at our meeting last Thursday saw a small glimmer of hope in the April 1 letter addressed to you from (DOT) Secretary Kopelousos (supporting the high-speed rail grant). The glimmer of optimism was snuffed out for me when Debbie Hunt, representing the secretary, went out of her way to emphasize that the letter represented the secretary's views and not the governor's views."

Chira said it would be a shame to lose Dockery from the authority.

"I asked him to reconsider," Chira said. "He is the father of high-speed rail in Florida. He is a real visionary and you know what happens to visionaries; they aren't recognized as such until years later."

Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said the governor's appointments office had not made appointments because the authority had not met for three years. It is now looking into it.

"The governor also does support alternative forms of transportation to relieve the traffic on our roadways," he said. "In terms of federal stimulus packages, we have to look at local requirements for such grants."
http://www.theledger.com/article/20090406/NEWS/904065037
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FayeforCure

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 09:02:16 PM »
Quote
By Bill Rufty
Ledger POLITICAL EDITOR

Published: Monday, April 6, 2009 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 1:27 a.m.



"Two states - Florida and California - are far enough along with high-speed rail plans to apply for the money," Chira said.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20090406/NEWS/904065037

Interesting to see that Florida and CA are the states that are far along with their high-speed rail plans,........and therefor presumably have priority for the $8 billion stimulus money......think jobs.
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 09:10:16 PM »
From reading the papers of other communities, Chicago would say different.  However, I wonder why the state continues to be silent on rail, both HSR and Amtrak.  It looks like they are content to let this money flow into other states.
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lindab

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 08:32:48 AM »
I wonder what Crist is thinking since that money will certainly go to other states more interested and competitive.

FayeforCure

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 05:23:14 PM »
From reading the papers of other communities, Chicago would say different.  However, I wonder why the state continues to be silent on rail, both HSR and Amtrak.  It looks like they are content to let this money flow into other states.
Looks like everything is being held hostage pending the Central Florida commuter rail project, as in "if that commuter rail project doesn't get through, we won't let anything else get through."

To heck with Florida jobs.

What happened to multi-tasking? Our leadership seems incapable of doing that!
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 05:43:08 PM »
Then we should approve it and move on.  Its already a year overdue.
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FayeforCure

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 08:00:14 PM »
Then we should approve it and move on.  Its already a year overdue.
Do you think it's ok to pass up on $2 billion of stimulus money to spite those who are having legitimate reservations on the set-up of sun rail? Political game playing to the max.

Being responsive to concerns is what could have fast-tracked the central florida commuter rail.
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2009, 08:14:08 PM »
There's only $8 billion for HSR corridors.  My guess is that Florida will not take 1/4 of the money that 11 corridors across the country are competing for.  Nevertheless, no its not okay to pass up on money.  I know this topic is about HSR, but it can also be used for improving existing intercity rail corridors (ie. Amtrak).  Anyway, its clear that Crist must not be interested in the HSR plan between Tampa and Orlando.  If so, public support would have been given by now.
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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2009, 08:31:54 PM »
With HIGH SPEED RAIL, Think financial disaster... An economic off ramp for all future transportation dollars and projects about 100 miles short of Jacksonville.

Think disfunctional thinking at DOT, and Dockery's office, a State that has never supported Amtrak Passenger Rail, has allowed a one time 12 train Amtrak System, dwindle down to 2 trains daily. Along with the errosion of service has come a nearly complete abandonment of the once strong ridership base. Not to worry says Tallahassee, we'll build super trains for all those Floridaians who are forced to commute from Orlando Internaitonal Airport to Tampa International Airport.

Got new's for you Crist, the only thing these Billion dollar trains are going to carry is MOUSE CRACK.

I'd suggest that before we jump off the cliff with the Lemmings of Central Florida we try something novel like building on what we already have. Like expanding Amtrak-Florida into a series of linked corridors at 80-90 MPH.

The we repair the damage done by allowing  abandonments of track segments that now effect our passenger train mobility every day. Most notably:

MATTOX - LAKE BUTLER - ALACHUA
GAINESVILLE - ROCHELLE - OCALA
DUNNELLON - INVERNESS - BROOKSVILLE
(Wildwood) COLEMAN JCT - AUBURNDALE (Winter Haven)
WILDWOOD - LEESBURG - TAVARES
JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL (rebuild at least 10) of 32 Tracks
JACKSONVILLE "S" LINE

Just what we need in Florida, a "Statewide" high speed Skyway, that will never be completed to Jacksonville. This will be a very Skyway like experience, like buying a new Accura without wheels.


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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2009, 09:37:29 PM »
There's only $8 billion for HSR corridors.  My guess is that Florida will not take 1/4 of the money that 11 corridors across the country are competing for.  Nevertheless, no its not okay to pass up on money.  I know this topic is about HSR, but it can also be used for improving existing intercity rail corridors (ie. Amtrak).  Anyway, its clear that Crist must not be interested in the HSR plan between Tampa and Orlando.  If so, public support would have been given by now.

Interesting that you won't answer the question whether it is ok to hold up $2 billion ( for HSR or to upgrade intercity) in order to "not distract from sunrail."

Stimulus funds are job projects. Keeping in mind that CA and FL have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis and the job losses, both are first in line for jobs programs.

CA will take $4 billion, the least FL can do is take $2 billion!
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2009, 09:50:19 PM »
Quote
Nevertheless, no its not okay to pass up on money.

I thought I mentioned that it was not okay to not go after available money?  Btw, I find it hard to believe that Florida will take more of that money than Obama's Chicago and the Midwest.  I guess time will tell.
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FayeforCure

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2009, 10:17:41 PM »
There's only $8 billion for HSR corridors.  My guess is that Florida will not take 1/4 of the money that 11 corridors across the country are competing for.  Nevertheless, no its not okay to pass up on money.  I know this topic is about HSR, but it can also be used for improving existing intercity rail corridors (ie. Amtrak).   Anyway, its clear that Crist must not be interested in the HSR plan between Tampa and Orlando.  If so, public support would have been given by now.

 Btw, I find it hard to believe that Florida will take more of that money than Obama's Chicago and the Midwest.  I guess time will tell.

The way it stands is that Florida is going to wave the $2 billion goodbye, since the word is to kill everything pending sunrail.

While I was searching for the original monies budgeted for the Orlando lightrail system before it went to Charlotte, I actually came across an interesting quote from an unexpected source that focuses on intercity( since you and I want Amtrak to increase its passenger service in FL):

Quote
At the agency's request, I submitted a proposal for a public-education campaign that defined success as getting the state to reject the flawed CSX deal and focus instead on intercity passenger-rail needs.
http://www.theledger.com/article/20090410/COLUMNISTS/904105010/1072/YOURTOWN15?Title=Internet-Site-Gives-Lakeland-Plenty

Personally, I think we should tackle passenger rail from all available angles, provided we ensure cost-efficiency in contracting. After all, tax payer monies are scarce.


« Last Edit: April 17, 2009, 10:22:07 PM by FayeforCure »
In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2009, 10:27:52 PM »
Where are you coming up with the $2 billion number?  The $8 billion has not been budgeted to any specific system at this point.  Anyway, I agree, if there's money out there, we should attempt to go after it.
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thelakelander

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2009, 10:37:04 PM »
Quote
At the agency's request, I submitted a proposal for a public-education campaign that defined success as getting the state to reject the flawed CSX deal and focus instead on intercity passenger-rail needs.
http://www.theledger.com/article/20090410/COLUMNISTS/904105010/1072/YOURTOWN15?Title=Internet-Site-Gives-Lakeland-Plenty

The good ole, LDDA?  I spent a few years working in Downtown Lakeland before coming to Jax and had plenty of interaction with them.  Trust me, when I say, those guys have no idea of what they are talking about, when it comes to rail.  We don't need to kill one system to focus on another.  That's Mtraininjax talk.  We're pass due.  We needed both years ago.  As you said, there's no reason we can't push for multiple things at once.

Btw, they (the LDDA) ended up wasting about $40k on that website, that could have been used for further improving the downtown core.
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FayeforCure

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Re: Florida High-Speed Rail Champion Dockery Resigns
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2009, 10:46:57 PM »
Where are you coming up with the $2 billion number?  The $8 billion has not been budgeted to any specific system at this point.  Anyway, I agree, if there's money out there, we should attempt to go after it.

Quote
Thursday, April 16, 2009, 6:09pm EDT
Florida high-speed rail gets new lifeOrlando Business Journal - by Bill Orben Staff Writer
 
Map of proposed rail corridors
A move to allocate $8 billion for high-speed rail systems in the U.S. could breathe new life into a 90-mile $2 billion project that would link Orlando and Tampa.

http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2009/04/13/daily41.html?t=printable

Quote
Could Stimulus Plan Bring High-Speed Rail To Tampa?
ADVERTISEMENT

 
 
By RICH SHOPES | The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 19, 2009

TAMPA - High-speed rail looked dead four years ago, but backers of the proposal say it's being resuscitated now thanks to the recently approved federal stimulus package.

"This is unbelievable," said Lee Chira, chairman of the Florida High Speed Rail Authority.

The group hadn't met since voters in November 2004 opposed granting state taxes to the project – the first leg of which would have connected Orlando and Tampa for $2 billion.

Now the authority is hopeful it could get some of the $8 billion recently set aside for high-speed rail projects nationwide.

"We're 90 percent sure we'll get it because the president said he is looking for communities and authorities that have shovel-ready projects," Chira said. "We're farther along than anybody."

The authority sent a letter to the Federal Transit Administration on Jan. 27 expressing interest in the funds and has scheduled a meeting Feb. 26 in Orlando to discuss what to do next.

By mid-September, the authority must have its formal application submitted to the FTA.

The project's first leg from Orlando International Airport to Tampa was expected to cost $2 billion and include stops at downtown Orlando, Disney World and Lakeland.


http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb/19/could-stimulus-plan-bring-high-speed-rail-tampa/news-breaking/
In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.
Basic American bi-partisan tradition: Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman were honorary chairmen of Planned Parenthood