Fla senators ask LaHood for more time on railby Dara Kam | February 17th, 2011
A bipartisan coalition of Florida state senators asked U.S. Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood to give them more time to come up with a way to take advantage of the $2.4 billion in federal funds Gov. Rick Scott rejected yesterday.
Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, convinced 25 of her Republican and Democratic colleagues, including Sens. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, and Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, sign her letter to LaHood.
They say the Florida Rail Enterprise or the Florida Statewide Passenger Rail Commission, both created by the legislature in 2009, are possible entities to draw down the money to go around Scott, who heads the state’s transportation agency that originally sought the funds under Gov. Charlie Crist. The commission is comprised of nine members – three each appointed by the governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other members of Florida’s Congressional delegation are meeting with LaHood in a last-ditch effort to keep the money set to be distributed to the states tomorrow.