Railing away 

The light-rail saga only gets better. This week Orange County Chairman Mel Martinez weighed in for a link between I-Drive and the airport, and against the already-planned downtown-to-I-Drive link. The reason: The county shouldn't pay part of the cost of a system that will primarily enrich downtown. U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Winter Park), who has wrangled up federal money for the project, said he could work with an expanded proposal even though the extra 13 miles of track would cost $400 million more.

Both links would work well, but the airport link will face tough opposition. Why? Because 70 percent of the livery traffic originating at the airport is conveyed by Paul Mears. That business is worth tens of millions; a safe, clean, efficient, cheap light rail would create competition he would not be able to control.

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