Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Florida governor “optimistic” on SunRail service

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday he's "hopefully optimistic" state legislators will support the latest effort to establish SunRail passenger rail service. Crist has maintained support for the proposal despite its repeated defeats in the state legislature, the latest occurring in late spring.

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Crist is seeking a special legislative session to reconside rthe rail proposal, which would connect Orlando to Osceola County and West Volusia. Under the plan, the state would recommit to buying CSX right-of-way, a major sticking point for SunRail opponents in the past. The legislature has questioned CSX's negotiating stance requiring Florida to assume liability for all commuter-train-related mishaps, a stance CSX routinely has advanced as at least a starting point in negotiations with other states.

Crist acknowledged the still-extant obstacles to getting SunRail approved. “We need 21 votes, obviously, in the [state] senate to make that happen," he said.