Source: Tampa Bay Times & The Miami herald
Gov. Rick Scott has been on the defense for months about All Aboard Florida, a controversial passenger rail project that he supports.
All Aboard Florida will run from Miami to West Palm Beach in 2016 and could extend to Orlando the following year. The project has faced opposition from some residents on the Treasure Coast, who fear noise and other impacts. And as he campaigns for re-election, Scott has faced heat for the role of his chief of staff, who previously worked for All Aboard’s parent company.
A key point of contention has been about the role of public dollars in the project. In an interview with the West Palm Beach TV station WPEC June 30, Scott said: “All Aboard is a 100 percent private venture. There is no state money involved.”
Scott made similar claims in June in a letter to the editor in the Tampa Bay Times and at a campaign event in Largo in July.
His description of the “100 percent private venture” prompted an outcry from the Florida Democratic Party and opponents of the project. Media reports have also outlined the public funding — and potential public funding — associated with the project. Earl Barrett of Clearwater wrote a letter to the editor of the Tampa Bay Times in June seeking some clarity: “A PolitiFact check seems in order.”
Meanwhile, Scott’s likely nemesis on the November ballot, former Gov. Charlie Crist, made a claim that contradicted Scott’s assertion. “All Aboard Florida is receiving millions in Florida taxpayer dollars,” Crist wrote in a July fundraising email.
As the All Aboard controversy moved full steam ahead in August, we decided it was time for us to subject Scott’s and Crist’s statements to our Truth-O-Meter.
What we found is that All Aboard Florida is a private enterprise, but it also takes advantage of infrastructure paid for by the government. So neither Crist nor Scott is telling the full story.