Florida special session sought on high-speed rail

| 10/23/2009

Florida lawmakers soon could be headed back to the Capitol to discuss high-speed rail as they try to secure federal funding for rail projects.

Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, said this week he is interested in gathering for a special session in December to consider a proposal to build a commuter-rail system in Central Florida.

Gov. Charlie Crist also appears to be on board for a special session to address the issue. House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, hasn’t indicated whether he’s in favor of returning to the statehouse before the next regular session begins in March 2010.

The 61-mile SunRail project would connect Volusia and three other counties. House lawmakers approved the project during the 2009 regular session, but it fell shy of the votes needed for passage in the Senate.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has about $8 billion available for high-speed rail projects. Supporters are hopeful that if they approve the SunRail plan it would significantly boost their chances of getting $2.6 billion in federal funding to build a high-speed corridor from Tampa to Orlando and from Orlando to Miami.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Florida in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the proposal included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.