A group that opposes the establishment of a high speed rail system from South Florida to Orlando issued its 2018 Candidate Report Card grading local, state and federal elected officials based on their views on the proposed rail system.
Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL) says of the 36 officials who responded to the group’s survey, eight of them received the top ranking of “Champions” for their positions on the high speed train system, All Aboard Florida.
Those eight officials include U.S. Reps. Brian Mast and Bill Posey, as well as state Representatives Erin Grall, Gayle Harrell and MaryLynn Magar. Also receiving Champions ranking are Indian River County Commissioners Peter O’Bryan and Joseph Flescher and Stuart City Commissioner Troy McDonald.
Another 22 of the respondents received A’s. One of those A’s went to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, the only candidate for governor to respond to the survey.
“CARE FL recognized candidates who through their past actions, while in office, have demonstrated a commitment to protecting the safety and way of life for families living in the affected regions as ‘Champions.’” the group said in a news release issued Wednesday.
All eight officials have expressed concerns about safety issues relating to building a high speed rail system with trains capable of speeds of up to 120 mph running through communities from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport. The system would use privately-owned trains operated by Brightline.
CARE FL says, to date, there have been eight fatalities and multiple injuries involving AAF/Brightline trains. It says local residents are understandably concerned about the impact these high speed trains will have on their pedestrian downtowns.
“We are pleased so many incumbents and candidates are finally echoing the public safety concerns that have been expressed by so many members in our communities,” said Brent Hanlon, Chairman of the CARE FL Steering Committee.
“This is more than a regional issue, and there should be nothing more important than the safety of Florida’s residents, and visitors alike,” Hanlon added. “We applaud the elected officials who have steadfastly stood with us – and for that they are recognized in this report card as Champions.”