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Flagler County officials endorse Amtrak project

20 May 2009 9:36 AM | Anonymous

County officials endorse Amtrak project


BUNNELL -- County commissioners Monday unanimously passed a resolution to support the reintroduction of Amtrak passenger rail service between Jacksonville and Miami, despite one commissioner's reservations.

"I think this is a waste of public money," said Commissioner Alan Peterson.

He didn't oppose the resolution that offers up local support for a state project that would be completed using federal stimulus funds. But he said his experiences in northern U.S. states led him to worry that reintroducing the rail service could bring more problems than benefits. Peterson also said he couldn't envision the service being a moneymaker for rail officials.

"I fail to see how they're going to get much business running from Jacksonville to Miami," Peterson said, adding that service between Jacksonville and Orlando might be more worthwhile.

He also pointed out that no boarding stations are planned between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville in the railway proposal so the service would be "of limited value" to residents in Flagler County.

In other business at the meeting:

· Commissioners approved a new contract for bulk fuel purchases for county fleet vehicles. The contract will be signed in conjunction with Volusia County Council, Volusia County School Board, Votran, South Daytona, New Smyrna Beach and Port Orange.

County Administrator Craig Coffey said the newly negotiated fuel and delivery rates will save taxpayers greatly in the coming years. Fuel prices are calculated daily under the agreement, using a published daily fuel price index. The contract that commissioners approved is for one year with the ability to renew the contract each year for the next four years.

· The commission accepted a $76,000 federal stimulus grant to purchase a new wheelchair-accessible bus for the county's public transportation system.

· Commissioners also accepted two grants from the Florida Department of Transportation. The first grant -- $680,000 -- will allow officials to install new sidewalks and complete partial sidewalks along State Road 100 between Belle Terre Parkway and Bulldog Drive. The work will enhance safety for pedestrians and students at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Coffey said.

The second grant -- $1 million -- will pay for the design and construction of a new turn lane and traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Royal Palms Parkway.

· Commissioners approved the purchase of 97 acres of land at Sweetbottom Plantation along Bulow Creek for $2.5 million in a divided vote. The approved purchase is nearly $900,000 more than the most recent appraisal done on the property. Peterson and Commission Chairwoman Milissa Holland voted against the land buy, saying the difference between the seller's bottom line and the assessed value of the property was simply too great.

heather.scofield@news-jrnl.com

Comments

  • 24 May 2009 6:18 AM | Anonymous
    I suppoort Alan Peterson 100%. I am not a Republican and I'm a huge supporter of FEC Pass. Service. I rode the "last day"with Seth on 7-31-68. But no boarding stops in St. Agustine or Bunnell?
    PHOOEY!!! That
    Stinks! Just like the Sunset not stopping in Live Oak! Dumb and Dumber! Jonathan Nelson
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