Setting the record straight about FDOT’s attempt to set the record straight about All Aboard Florida

in Uncategorized by

Let’s jump in here…

Long story short, the Naples Daily News‘ Matt Dixon reported that Rick Scott’s chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, used his power and connections to line up a taxpayer-funded sweetheart deal for his former employer, All Aboard Florida.

The Florida Department of Transportation, which often doubles as the outreach office for Rick Scott for Governor, put out a “Setting the Record Straight” regarding Dixon’s reporting.

In its release, FDOT says Dixon’s reporting “contained several statements that warrant a Setting the Record Straight.”

The FDOT then goes on to list just two issues it has with Dixon’s story.

Dixon originally wrote that All Aboard Florida “…is being helped by millions in state taxpayer dollars.”

The FDOT counters that this is “a private sector venture to construct, operate and maintain a passenger rail system.”

What the Department of Transportation leaves out is that “… more than $230 million in state dollars already have been set aside for projects that either will directly or indirectly benefit All Aboard Florida’s rail line. The biggest portion of that is $213 million for a “multi-modal” terminal at the Orlando International Airport. The new structure will serve as All Aboard Florida’s terminal in that city.”

But this money is for the airport, the FDOT argues, not All Aboard Florida. As if that matters to Joe Taxpayer. He sees hundreds of millions going into a terminal and he thinks its for the choo-choo, not the birds in the sky.

In other words, stop with the accounting schematics.

All of this, of course, is beside the point.

The heart of Dixon’s story is that the Rasputin in Rick Scott’s office killed high speed rail for the state, just so his former employer could make out.

“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,” reports Dixon, ” 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.”

Hollingsworth, through his office, declined to comment.

Of course he didn’t.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.