All Aboard Florida spends $3M in lobbying, contributions to clear tracks for rail project


All Aboard Florida has sunk more than $3 million into state lobbying fees and campaign contributions to clear the tracks for commuter rail through Central Florida.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. If AAF fails to secure even one of the 17 permits needed from six state agencies, some Treasure Coast officials say it could derail the entire $3 billion project.

LobbyTools reports on an investigation that found five consultants who received more than $2 million from AAF to lobby the state government, including two major fundraisers for Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2015 inauguration events.

Among the report’s other findings: More than $900,000 went to a combination of state political parties, candidates, elected officials and independent committees.

Since 2011, LobbyTools notes that nearly $200,000 went to “Let’s Get to Work,” Scott’s electioneering committee. Another $500,000 went to Florida Roundtable, the committee supporting House Speaker-Designate Rep. Richard Corcoran, the Land O’ Lakes Republican who has yet to support the rail project publicly.

However, there were no AAF contributions recorded going to the committee supporting Senate President Designate Joe Negron, the Stuart Republican representing several areas actively opposing the rail project.

Instead, $6,500 of AAF money went to the PAC supporting Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who will chair the influential Senate Appropriations Committee next year. Another $18,500 was spread among campaigns and political committees supporting 14 lawmakers in the areas of Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


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