May 28, 2010
Dillaha is quoted in this week’s Winter Park/Maitland Observer as follows:
But Commissioner Beth Dillaha railed against the idea of the city being on the hook to pay for a station and part of the system if dedicated funding for it were to disappear in the future.
“You cannot tell a future sitting commission that you have to pay for these things,” Dillaha said. “You can’t do it. It’s the law.”
Following the meeting Monday, she said that many of the supporters of the system and the current agreement were those who would benefit financially from SunRail, but not necessarily those who would pay for it.
“There were a lot more people speaking who would actually make money off commuter rail rather than riding it,” she said. “I represent the people who would pay for it and have to deal with it.”
As usual, Dillaha offers her selective interpretation of the facts. The lead Orange County staff member for SunRail has acknowledged that the county is prepared to modify the current opt out language to assure the insecure that the city may opt out at any time a dedicated funding source is insufficient to pay 100% of the SunRail system operating and maintenance costs allocated to the Winter Park station. This is clearly NOT putting the city “on the hook to pay for a station and part of the system if dedicated funding for it were to disappear in the future.”
The city commission routinely makes commitments to pay for things into the future, binding subsequent commissions to past commitments. City borrowings for projects paid for within the Community Redevelopment Area are made routinely, committing future commissions for many years into the future. Further, the very existence of the opt out in the commuter rail agreement specifically DOES NOT BIND future commissioners but rather, provides them with the OPTION to negotiate down the road, accept the terms of the initial agreement, or opt out of the SunRail station entirely if sufficient funds from non-Winter Park sources are not available to fund possible SunRail costs beginning in approximately 2020. Again, Dillaha fabricates a controversy about something she does not understand.
Her final comments speak to her core motivations in trying to obstruct Winter Park’s participation in SunRail to our long term detriment.
Since the beginning of her involvement with SunRail Dillaha has convinced herself that the entire project is a scam foisted upon the good people of Orange County by a small group of privileged interests whose only objective is to exploit SunRail to feed their bank accounts. Dillaha has convinced herself of this in a context where;
- The federal government is committing roughly $600,000,000 to SunRail.
- The State of Florida is committing roughly $600,000,000 to SunRail.
- Four contiguous counties are committing to fund the long term operating and maintenance costs of SunRail, and
- There are no political actors in any city or county in the SunRail system I am aware of trying to kill SunRail other than Dillaha and Matthew Falconer (running for Orange County Mayor). As of March 31, 2010 Mr. Falconer’s campaign had raised $47,000 from 180 people out of over 1,000,000 Orange County residents.
I have no interest in making Dillaha look bad. My only interest is to make sure the people of Winter Park understand that her commuter rail positions are dangerously wrong and that we all urge other commissioners to seek closure on Dillaha’s obstruction.
We all need to make sure our SunRail station becomes a reality, and a social and financial success for Winter Park.
Regards, Pete Weldon
700 Via Lombardy
Winter Park, Fl 32789