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CFO Sink Continues Push for Federal Investment in Rail for Florida

12/14/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, 850-413-2842

TALLAHASSEE - Florida CFO Alex Sink sent a letter to Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo late last week, urging that Florida receive the requested federal funds for the state’s rail projects. In October, CFO Sink met personally with Administrator Szabo on the eve of the rail application deadline to advocate for these funds.

“Florida has championed your charge of demonstrating an achievable vision for high speed and commuter rail through our detailed project applications and our collective and purposeful legislative action,” CFO Sink wrote. “I ask that you review Florida’s applications in light of these latest advances and urge the Administration to approve all of Florida’s requests.”

CFO Sink has been a tireless advocate for the comprehensive development of high speed and commuter rail in Florida as a key component in creating a stronger economic future for our state.  In the letter, she noted that the Tampa-Orlando High Speed Rail Corridor was “shovel-ready” and could be built faster than any other project in the country.  CFO Sink previously sponsored a Cabinet Resolution supporting these projects and urging President Obama, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Administrator Szabo to fully fund Florida’s applications.  Read the Resolution in full here.

A copy of CFO Sink’s letter is attached and below:

Administrator Joseph C. Szabo
Federal Railroad Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Administrator Szabo:

When we met in October to discuss Florida’s proposed rail projects and our grant applications, you made clear that in order to access federal dollars, Florida had to demonstrate a collective commitment and comprehensive vision for high speed and commuter rail.

I am pleased to let you know that Florida has answered the call.  This week, the Florida Legislature took a decided step in demonstrating Florida’s commitment to rail with the passage of a comprehensive rail package.  The legislation authorizes the improvement and further development of an interstate rail transportation system.  And our dedication and efforts will remain on the fast track – Governor Charlie Crist has made it clear that he will sign the bill before December 24, 2009.

As we discussed a few months ago, investments in Florida’s rail projects will help our state create jobs immediately and build a stronger economy in the future, something sorely needed as Florida continues to face 11.2 percent unemployment.  I also spoke with you about the strength of our state’s applications, including the $2.5 billion request for the “shovel-ready” Tampa-Orlando High Speed Rail Corridor.  This application details a plan that can be built faster than any other project in the country and would provide full service within 5 years.

Florida has championed your charge of demonstrating an achievable vision for high speed and commuter rail through our detailed project applications and our collective and purposeful legislative action.  I ask that you review Florida’s applications in light of these latest advances and urge the Administration to approve all of Florida’s requests.

Sincerely,

Alex Sink

cc:        The Honorable Charlie Crist, Governor

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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices.