Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rick Scott Rejects High-Speed Rail Money

Gov. Rick Scott has rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for the Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail project.


Scott said he was not sure high-speed rail would bring taxpayers a return on their investment and he felt money would be better spent on state highway and seaport improvements.


The problem is the Obama administration is not going to give the $2.4 billion to Florida for highways and seaports. The federal funds have been allotted for rail projects. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will give the money to another state for a rail project. The $2.4 billion comes from federal money budgeted for rail projects.

Scott gave his explanation for refusing the funds in a poorly planned press conference. As usual, Scott sounded like a talking points robot.


"Government has become addicted to spending beyond its means and we cannot continue this flawed policy," Scott said at a hastily-called press conference this morning.


Scott continued his political tone deaf ways by alienating Republicans. I wonder how many allies Scott is going to have near the end of term.

"I am deeply disappointed in the decision to not move forward with the Orlando to Tampa passenger rail project.

"This is a huge setback for the state of Florida, our transportation, economic development, and important tourism industry.

"I have urged the Governor to reconsider going forward and allow the private sector to assume the risk and any future costs for the project. I made this appeal to the Governor this morning. With the federal government assuming 90% of the cost of the project, I am disappointed the private sector will not have an opportunity to even offer innovative proposals to help finance the balance of the costs and to construct and operate this system.

"I will continue to work with the Governor and all those interested in developing cost-effective 21st century transportation alternatives for Florida and the nation, with systems that can improve quality of life and help meet our future transportation needs."

John Mica, U.S. House Transportation chair


"I am deeply disappointed in the decision to not move forward with the Orlando to Tampa passenger rail project.

"This is a huge setback for the state of Florida, our transportation, economic development, and important tourism industry.

"I have urged the Governor to reconsider going forward and allow the private sector to assume the risk and any future costs for the project. I made this appeal to the Governor this morning. With the federal government assuming 90% of the cost of the project, I am disappointed the private sector will not have an opportunity to even offer innovative proposals to help finance the balance of the costs and to construct and operate this system.


Sen. Jack Latvala


"Making this decision, at this point, on a project that could mean 12,000 to 14,000 jobs is very premature,'' said Latvala, R-St. Petersburg. "I have been consistent in saying we ought to at least let the private companies go to bid and let it play out."

"It's in his court and I'm very disappointed he made this decision without consulting the Legislative branch,'' he said. "I visited with him yesterday and I had no inkling that they were heading in this direction. It shows kind of a lack of understanding and respect for the Legislative process. It's supposed to be a collaborative process -- where the governor and Legislature work together -- and this is not an example of working together."


J.D. Alexander, Senate budget chairman


"The Constitution doesn't allow the governor to not-spend appropriations funds" and there is $300 million appropriated in the budget to put into development of the rail line between Orlando and Tampa, Alexander said.

He said he agrees there is widespread doubt as to whether the project would have succeeded in drawing enough riders. "I think the governor is making the right choice on this rail system,'' he said."I personally would like to have seen the bids come in to see where they really were."

Alexander said that if the legislature puts it in the transportation budget, he expects Scott to veto it and "I don't believe there would be the support to override a veto." The question now is, "where do we go from here" and if the governor wants to cancel it, he will need the approval of the Legislative Budget Commission. "We'll certainly encourage him to pay more attention to the Constitution and budgeting rules," Alexander said.


Sen. Thad Altman


"He's using government to short-change the private sector's opportunity to bid and show case how this can work. Don't use your position as governor to stand in the way of the private sector to show what it can do."


Sen. Paula Dockery


"Florida is a donor state for transportation dollars receiving only 62 cents on every transit dollars and 87 cents on every highway dollar we send to Washington, and this $2.4 billion in federal transportation dollars would have brought Florida in line with other states,'' Dockery said in a statement. "It appears that Secretary LaHood will direct these billions lost by Florida to California where true high speed rail has the next best opportunity to succeed."


Scott based his decision on killing the high-speed rail project on a 2011 Reason Foundation study> All you need to know about the libertarian think tank is that Drew Carey is on the Board of Trustees. David H. Koch is another member of Reason's board and the think tank's main source of revenue. Koch has advocated for abolishing Social Security and the Federal Reserve, minimum-wage laws and federal government agencies. Florida has a governor getting his ideas from a game show host and a business man with radical ideas.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home