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The Florida Senate

2007 Florida Statutes

Legislative findings, policy, purpose, and intent.
Section 341.8202, Florida Statutes 2007

341.8202  Legislative findings, policy, purpose, and intent.--

(1)  The intent of this act is to implement the purpose of s. 19, Art. X of the State Constitution, which directs the Legislature, the Cabinet and the Governor to proceed with the development, either by the state or an approved private entity, of a high-speed monorail, fixed guideway, or magnetic levitation system, capable of speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour. The development of such a system, which will link Florida's five largest urban areas as defined in this act, includes acquisition of right-of-way and the financing of design and construction with construction beginning on or before November 1, 2003. Further, this act promotes the various growth management and environmental protection laws enacted by the Legislature and encourages and enhances the establishment of a high-speed rail system. The Legislature further finds that:

(a)  The implementation of a high-speed rail system in the state will result in overall social and environmental benefits, improvements in ambient air quality, better protection of water quality, greater preservation of wildlife habitat, less use of open space, and enhanced conservation of natural resources and energy.

(b)  A high-speed rail system, when developed in conjunction with sound land use planning, becomes an integral part in achieving growth management goals and encourages the use of public transportation to augment and implement land use and growth management goals and objectives.

(c)  Development and utilization of a properly designed, constructed, and financed high-speed rail system and associated development can act as a catalyst for economic growth and development, mitigate unduly long and traffic-congested commutes for day-to-day commuters, create new employment opportunities, serve as a positive growth management system for building a better and more environmentally secure state, and serve a paramount public purpose by promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state.

(d)  Transportation benefits of a high-speed rail system include improved travel times and more reliable travel, which will increase productivity and energy efficiency in the state.

(2)  The Legislature further finds that:

(a)  Access to timely and efficient modes of passenger transportation is necessary for travelers, visitors, and day-to-day commuters, to the quality of life in the state, and to the economy of the state.

(b)  Technological advances in the state's transportation system can significantly and positively affect the ability of the state to attract and provide efficient services for domestic and international tourists and therefore increase revenue of the state.

(c)  The geography of the state is suitable for the construction and efficient operation of a high-speed rail system.

(d)  The public use of the high-speed rail system must be encouraged and assured in order to achieve the public purpose and objectives set forth in this act. In order to encourage the public use of the high-speed rail system and to protect the public investment in the system, it is necessary to provide an environment surrounding each high-speed rail station which will allow the development of associated development for the purpose of creating revenue in support of and for the high-speed rail system, enhance the safe movement of pedestrians and traffic into and out of the area, ensure the personal safety of high-speed rail system and related facility users and their personal property while the users are in the area of each station, and eliminate all conditions in the vicinity which constitute economic and social impediments and barriers to the use of the high-speed rail system and associated development.

(e)  Areas surrounding certain proposed high-speed rail stations can, as a result of existing conditions, crime, and traffic congestion, pose a serious threat to the use of the high-speed rail system, reduce revenue from users, discourage pedestrian and traffic ingress and egress, retard sound growth and development, impair public investment, and consume an excessive amount of public revenues in the employment of police and other forms of public protection to adequately safeguard the high-speed rail system and its users. Such areas may require redevelopment, acquisition, clearance, or disposition, or joint public and private development to provide parking facilities, retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, or office facilities associated with or ancillary to the high-speed rail system and rail stations and to otherwise provide for an environment that will encourage the use of, and safeguard, the system.

(f)  The powers conferred by this act are for public uses and purposes as established by s. 19, Art. X of the State Constitution for which public funds may be expended, and the necessity in the public interest for the provisions herein enacted is hereby declared as a matter of legislative determination to implement the intent of s. 19, Art. X of the State Constitution.

(g)  Urban and social benefits include revitalization of economically depressed areas, the redirection of growth in a carefully and comprehensively planned manner, and the creation of numerous employment opportunities within inner-city areas.

(h)  The provisions contained in this act are a declaration of legislative intent that the state develop a high-speed rail system to help solve transportation problems and eliminate their negative effect on the citizens of this state, and therefore serves a public purpose.

(i)  Joint development is a necessary planning, financing, management, operation, and construction mechanism to ensure the continued future development of an efficient and economically viable high-speed rail system in this state.

(3)  It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize the authority to implement innovative mechanisms required to effect the joint public-private venture approach to planning, locating, permitting, managing, financing, constructing, operating, and maintaining a high-speed rail system for the state, including providing incentives for revenue generation, operation, construction, and management by the private sector.

History.--s. 29, ch. 2002-20.