The administration of Gov. Rick Scott of Florida conditionally agreed to lease
out state property to All Aboard Florida, which plans to share the track with an existing freight train company. Federal regulators, after some initial concerns, concluded that the railroad’s safety plans met their standards. And a state authorized nonprofit approved taxfree bonds that can help finance All Aboard Florida’s business.
Fortress, which owns both the passenger train and the freight rail, secured these victories through a mix of negotiations, public support, political power and a revolving door between the government and the private sector.
Documents obtained through public records requests pull back a curtain on the lobbying that shaped the project. The documents, many previously unreported, spotlight the role played by Governor Scott’s aides.
The governor’s former campaign manager teamed up with one of his former policy advisers to coordinate All Aboard Florida’s media strategy and meetings with the governor’s administration. They found a receptive audience, including an aide to Governor Scott who texted a Fortress employee, “Let me know if I can be helpful.”
Fortress stands to benefit from the project in several ways.
Follow this link for the entire New York Times investigative Report on Fortress Investment Group, the parent company of All Aboard Florida.
How Private Equity Found Power and Profit in State Capitols – The New York Times