Here's an update to my post earlier this week, "Matthew Falconer, is he stupid or does he think the voters are," which looked at Falconer's unconstitutional, illegal, and impossible proposals for changing Orange County government. I'm not the only one who has analyzed Falconer's ideas and found them sorely lacking in truth, feasibility, and common sense.
Rick Geller is a local attorney who currently serves on the Orange County Planning & Zoning Board. He has a blog at www.RickGeller.com, where he writes about "law, the community, and local government."
In a recent post, "Overstating SunRail's Cost to Orange County," Geller analyzes in detail Falconer's claims regarding SunRail.
I encourage you to read the entire article, there's a lot of great detail and Geller has clearly done his research.
Regarding the overall cost of the SunRail project:
Mayoral candidate Matthew Falconer sent a mailer accusing his opponents of voting for a "$1.6 billion rail system." His opponents did, in fact, support SunRail, but they did not vote for anything close to a $1.6 billion Orange County budget obligation. The SunRail Interlocal Agreement, excerpted below, shows Orange County's actual share of SunRail expenditures will amount to just over $40 million over seven years...
$40 million is a lot of money--and Orange County needs to monitor to make sure it's spent wisely--but the cost is in line with expenditures for typical road widening projects. For example, the Planning and Zoning Board voted two months ago on a $75 million road widening project for Southeast Orange County--covering only four miles. (SunRail will ultimately span 61 miles)...
Regarding Falconer's lawsuit against Orange County:
Matthew filed a lawsuit calling SunRail "unconstitutional" on the grounds that operations and maintenance after seven years would require expenditures of property taxes without a popular vote. Matthew faces an uphill legal battle. He will need to demonstrate that the Interlocal Agreement removes local government funding flexibility. The Interlocal Agreement does no such thing and, further, each local government's share of debt service must come from "non-ad volorem sources," that is, not from property taxes.
Regarding Falconer's claim that the voters rejected SunRail:
Matthew claims the voters rejected SunRail. They didn't. Seven years ago when Mobility 20/20 appeared on the ballot, voters rejected a different system, on a different route (not on the CSX line), intermixed with I-4 toll lanes (derided as "Lexus lanes"), and an acceleration of the County's voluminous roadbuilding schedule...
Don't forget that Falconer himself didn't even bother to vote on Mobility 20/20, even though the ballot was mailed to his house.