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Guest donaltopablo

Derail the Bullet Train

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Guest donaltopablo

The Derail the Bullet Train (DEBT) committee announced Monday that a new Web site (www.debtpetition.com) has been launched where Floridians can download a form to support repeal of the high-speed rail amendment.

DEBT was formed in 1997 by retired District of Columbia social studies teacher David Goodstein, now of West Boca; District 5 Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson; state Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton; and Palm Beach developer Dean Borg when talks first arose about plans for high-speed rail.

Despite that group's concerns, a state constitutional amendment was passed in 2000 that requires the use of train technologies that operate at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour and consist of dedicated rails or guideways separated from motor vehicle traffic. The new high-speed rail system is to link the five largest urban areas in Florida.

Since its passage, the high-speed rail amendment has drawn both praise and criticism from other groups throughout the state.

Among its toughest critics is Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who plans to serve as chairman of DEBT and who supports a joint legislative resolution to place a constitutional amendment on the 2004 ballot to repeal the high-speed rail initiative.

Gallagher says that absent any action by the Legislature, he will promote a citizen petition drive statewide to collect enough signatures to get an amendment repealing the rail on the November ballot.

"As CFO, I have a constitutional responsibility to evaluate the financial soundness and accountability of state projects," he says. "I believe implementing a project of this magnitude will come at a great cost to Florida taxpayers and negatively impact the current and ongoing transportation needs of our state."

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