Site icon Vero News

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear IRC’s Brightline appeal

A view of the Brightline train traveling from West Palm Beach to Miami in Florida.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Indian River County’s last gasp appeal intended to block the extension of the Brightline passenger train project from West Palm Beach to Orlando. 

Indian River County’s challenge against federal approval of $2.1 billion in tax free bonds for the Brightline project was among 966 petitions for certiorari the nation’s highest court dismissed Monday without explanation, records show.

The court opted not to hear the county’s arguments DOT improperly allocated highway project bonds to the passenger rail project based on the flawed reasoning the Florida East Coast Railway had obtained $9 million in federal highway funds for railroad crossing improvements on the tracks its freight trains share with Brightline.

“It was disappointing but not a surprise,” said Indian River County Attorney Dylan Reingold about the high court ruling. “We had meritorious claims, but petitions such as these are rarely granted.”

The U.S. Supreme Court hears about 80 cases per year, a little more than 1 percent of the 7,000-to-8,000 appeals filed, records show.

Brightline plans to zip 34 passenger trains through Indian River County daily at speeds of up to 110 mph after completing new high-speed tracks in late 2022. That date has been pushed back several times.

Barrier Island homeowners raised $200,000 earlier this year to pay for the county’s Supreme Court appeal after County Commissioners had initially decided to accept defeat in the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit in December 2019.

DOT and Brightline argued the Supreme Court should reject Indian River County’s appeal because the lower courts correctly deferred to the agency’s decision to authorize the tax-exempt bonds.

In addition, the legal issues and financial stakes in the case are not worth the high court’s time, Brightline’s parent company, All Aboard Florida LLC, argued in its brief.

Justices on the high court agreed.

Exit mobile version