Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

sunshine

Bullet train backers sue rail foes

Recommended Posts

sunshine    253

TALLAHASSEE -- A group trying to stop Florida's high-speed rail train broke state election law and should have tens of thousands of petition signatures tossed out, train backers charged in a lawsuit filed today.

Lakeland millionaire C.C. "Doc" Dockery said the anti-train group, backed by state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and Gov. Jeb Bush, paid a California firm to collect signatures to try to force an election on repealing the bullet train. But the paid petition gatherers did not follow a law requiring their names and addresses on each petition, Dockery said.

As a result, the nearly 200,000 signatures collected are legally invalid, Dockery charged. With an Aug. 3 deadline to have 488,722 signatures verified to put the measure on the ballot, that could slow down or kill the effort, Dockery said.

"Essentially, you're starting over," Dockery said, adding with a smile that if the effort failed, "It would be very nice."

Elections officials have verified nearly 55,000 petitions submitted by Derail the Bullet Train. Dockery's attorney, former state bar association head John Frost II, said the request for a court injunction to invalidate those signatures was filed early today in Leon County Circuit Court.

Dockery has spent more than a decade pushing for a high-speed train to connect major Florida cities including Orlando and Tampa. Florida voters endorsed construction of the train in a statewide vote.

Bush and Gallagher call it a boondoggle and have fought to derail it. Mark Mills, a spokesman for Derail the Bullet Train, said he couldn't comment on the legal merits of the lawsuit but said the group's lawyers are confident that the petition meets the law's requirements.

"This is a frivolous lawsuit without merit intended to slow our momentum," Mills said.

The suit names as a defendant Secretary of State Glenda Hood, who must approve the measure for the ballot after verifying signatures. A spokeswoman for Hood said the secertary's chief lawyer was reviewing the lawsuit Wednesday and couldn't immediately comment.

The anti-train group needs to have the wording of its ballot measure approved by the state Supreme Court for clarity and to make sure it only deals with one subject. That review is triggered when a group gets 10 percent of the signatures, a milestone that was passed Tuesday. With the lawsuit, it's not clear whether the court review process could go forward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


bobliocatt    0

Its nice to see rail supporters continue to fight back, despite the backwards efforts of Jeb Bush. If this thing makes it back to the ballots, without any alternative to road transportation listed, I'll vote for rail once again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
G W North    0

Florida, with it's dense population and large number of visitors, would be ideal for high-speed trains. Unfortunately, I don't think politics will allow it to happen any time soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spartan    682

^Yeah. Just think, you could hit up evey major city on the Atlantic or the Gulf in one day. I don't understand why people wouldn't want this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.