All Aboard Florida: The New Stations and Yet More Politics

AllAboardFloridaTrain

Recently we have talked about the new stations, starting with Miami, and we have talked about “the good and the bad and the ugly“.

All Aboard Florida is scheduled to unveil plans for its Fort Lauderdale station, which company officials said will create a new gateway to the city’s downtown.The station is the second to be the second revealed by the express passenger rail company, which will travel between Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Service is expected to begin in late 2016.

In May, All Aboard Florida released designs for its Miami station, a grand downtown facility with shops, restaurants, soaring towers and elevated tracks.

The Fort Lauderdale station will be located on 4.8 acres of land adjacent to the Florida East Coast Railway Corridor on NW 2nd Avenue between Broward Boulevard and NW 4th Street.

Designs for West Palm Beach’s station have yet to be released, but may be similar in scope to what Fort Lauderdale gets.

According to a company prospectus, All Aboard Florida expects to spend about $30 million on its Fort Lauderdale station and $29 million in West Palm Beach. Miami’s station is expected to cost about $150 million.

But there are other great stories too (other than cities complaining about either getting a station or not getting a station).

When Gov. Rick Scott ran for governor in 2010, the GOP establishment supported former Attorney General Bill McCollum.

So, when Scott, a former health care executive, spent nearly $40 million of his own wealth to beat McCollum in the Republican primary, fences needed to be mended between the rookie politician and the party he now led.

Enter Adam Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth became one of Scott’s most trusted advisers, a position he used to influence the administration’s rejection of billions in federal high-speed rail money, then later lobby for a rail project that would benefit his employer, emails, text messages and administration documents obtained by the Scripps/Tribune Capital Bureau show.

After the November 2010 election, Hollingsworth was brought on to serve as a transportation adviser to Scott’s transition team.

His role was not ceremonial. As adviser, Hollingsworth penned a draft letter informing federal administrators Florida was rejecting $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa.

Read the rest about Mr. Hollingsworth and All Aboard Florida.