Rail deal passes in legislature

12/09/09 Robert Lorei
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A bill that would clear the way for commuter and high-speed rail systems is heading to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's desk.

Final passage came yesterday in the Florida Senate on a bipartisan 27-10 vote to close out a 6-day special legislative session. It easily passed in the House on Monday.

Crist is a strong supporter of the bill (HB 1B) and is expected to sign it into law.

The measure includes liability protection for the giant CSX corporation, which backers said was needed to create the SunRail commuter system in central Florida (near Orllando) and others that might follow elsewhere.

Federal official have warned that Florida needs to have a link to commuter lines in order to have any chance of obtaining $2.6 billion in stimulus for a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando.

We're joined now by Ed Turanchik, former Hillsborough County Commissioner who now heads a group called Connect Us, which advocates for high speed rail here in Florida.

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