The Lakeland City Commission voted in a unanimous decision to give City Attorney Tim McCausland the approval to work with other agencies in creating the legal framework for an independent agency to oversee the future development of high speed rail.
McCausland will be working with Cities of Tampa and Orlando and their legal teams in creating an independent agency that would manage future development of the proposed high speed rail project. This independent oversight group would insulate taxpayers from any financial risk and divert the $2.4 billion in federal funding to a new entity such as a regional planning group.
McCausland said, “The idea is to have a plan that would allow private sector input from vendor operators and place any liability for the project on them.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has created a Friday, Feb. 25th deadline to devise an alternative plan to create the Orlando-to-Tampa line after the announcement from Gov. Scott that he would not accept the federal funding for any high speed rail project in Florida.
In response to the Governor's announcement, the City of Tampa, the City of Orlando, and the City of Lakeland have helped "craft" the language for an Independent Regional Agency. The Central Florida Super Region continues to explore a "shared solution" when it comes to High Speed Rail for Florida.
Letter to Senator Nelson and Representative Castor regarding indepenent agency. 02-18-2011 HSR Ltr to Sen Nelson and Rep Castor pdf.pdf