Rick Scott's High-Speed B.S.
Gov. Rick Scott made the laughable claim that his refusal to take federal high-speed rail money helped prevent the government shutdown. The rail money was $2.4 billion. That amount of money was not going to make or break whether or not there would be a government shutdown. The rail money was already appropriated by the federal government. It does not go into a magic lockbox if Florida does not use the money. Federal funds are not used to pay down the deficit. (There is talk of legislation to reclaim loss appropriated revenue.)
$800 million of the Florida high-speed rail money has been appropriated to New York. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand gave Scott back-handed thanks.
Expanding high speed rail across New York has been a top priority for Senator Gillibrand throughout her time in the Senate. In February, Senator Gillibrand urged Secretary LaHood to redirect $2.4 billion in federal funding for high speed rail to New York that had been turned away by Florida Governor Rick Scott. In a letter last month to Secretary LaHood, Senator Gillibrand urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to award funding to New York State Department of Transportation and Amtrak's applications for high speed rail infrastructure. In May 2010, Gillibrand urged for the appointment of a new high speed rail project manager at the state level to ensure New York is securing and managing all federal funds available to us. In January 2010, Senator Gillibrand helped secure $151 million for high speed rail projects across New York State.
Republican State Sen. Thad Altman unsuccessfully sued Scott in attempt to keep the high-speed rail funding. Altman tore into Scott.
Altman said Scott' has lost several other arguments. Scott's claim that high-speed rail was a "boondoggle" was contradicted by a Florida Department of Transportation study and Scott's top attorney, Charles Trippe, had to walk back a key fact his Supreme Court argument about how much the state had spend on the project.
"This is almost propaganda," Altman said. "It's all proven to be false and as a result we've lost money for would have been the most modern transportation system in America, if not the world."
"He intentionally ignored the facts to make a political point," Altman continued. "It was a political move to prevent the president from having a project awarded to Florida.
"In his disdain for the president and his zeal to make him look bad, he was even willing to hurt the people of Florida."
That is what happens when Floridians elect a man unfit to serve as governor.