Response to Scott Decision to Reject High Speed Rail Funds

 Train WreckThis morning Florida Governor Rick Scott unilaterally chose to reject high speed rail funds offered by the Feds. Of course, surprised officials were quick to respond.

State Senator Paula Dockery

This morning I spoke to Governor Rick Scott who informed me of his decision to turn back $2.4 billion to the federal government. I expressed my disappointment that Floridians will lose the opportunity to have the first true High Speed Rail system in the nation and even more so in the loss of thousands of high wage jobs that it would bring. Seven teams were planning to bid on the Florida High Speed Rail project representing companies from 11 different countries including Japan, South Korea, Germany and France, all experts in building and operating high speed rail systems. Each of these teams had explicitly agreed to design, build, operate and maintain Florida’s high speed rail system for a firm, fixed price, with no cost overruns and no subsidies.

It was my hope and expectation that the governor would have allowed these teams to submit proposals before pulling the plug on this true public/private partnership that had little risk to the state and tremendous return to Floridians. It would have been more prudent for the governor to have waited for the private industry to make their offers in writing to assess the viability of this transformational transportation project. Florida is a donor state for transportation dollars receiving only 62 cents on every transit dollar 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. 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. — State Senator Paula Dockery


Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields


Mayor Gow Fields reacted with a statement of disappointment. He said, “I really believe we would have a better economic case after we went through the request for proposal and got to hear from the private sector that would be operating the system.” He added, “Making a decision before then is a true disappointment but high speed rail is not dead forever.”
Fields said that HSR does have a chance in Florida because we need to grow smartly and provide for the people and businesses in this state. “Someone else in the country is going to show how high speed rail will work in their community and I guess then we will strongly consider it in Florida,” Fields said. — LakelandGov.net


Elsewhere:

Gov. Scott’s Wednesday Morning Announcement

Senator Bill Nelson’s Response to Scott’s Announcement

Creative Commons License photo illustration credit: Jimmy Smith

5 thoughts on “Response to Scott Decision to Reject High Speed Rail Funds

  1. I am at a loss. Governor Scott obviously knows something that we don’t know. His campaign was a bit of an enigma and likewise his decision to reject the rail. With USFPoly scrapping for funds and the HSR virtually dead it sure sends Polk County back to the drawing board to stimulate our local economy. I was always told Investigate before you Invest…”I’m just sayin’ ” Looks like we should have investigated Rick Scott’s views in light of creating 700,000 jobs with his 7-7-7 plan, before we put him in Tallahassee. I think he mentioned his skepticism on the rail before he got in office…Hmmm

  2. We elected a guy who ran the company convicted of the largest Medicare Fraud ever — and then claimed he didn’t know anything about the wrong-doing. But he claimed to be a great business man. And the majority of Florida voters (narrowly) bought that crap!

    Elections have consequences. And now we have to live with the consequences of a governor who puts profit and special interests uber alles. Of course a good business man would never have made a decision that will ultimately send tons of Florida tax dollars to NY or California for their HSR instead of Florida. But I guess the majority of voters must like sending their money to support other states.

    We’d have been better off if he’d killed some of the politically motivated stops that turned the High Speed Rail into a Medium Speed High Dollar Commuter Rail and killed the CSX deal that rapes the state treasury forever! That’s what a real business man might have done.

  3. There is now no doubt that “Crook Scott” is totally incompetent and untrustworthy to be in charge of any enterprise much less the fate of our State of Florida. Therefore, we hold him and his decisions to be void of effect and that the Office of the Governor of the State of Florida is hereby declared vacant as is the mind of “Crook Scott” who now sits in the chair as Governor.
    The utter contempt of “Crook Scott” to the facts and desires of the People of the State of Florida. To the expressed desires of many teams of Corporations backed by extensive funds who want to build, operate and provide High Speed Rail service at their own risk and without even one penny of risk to Florida taxpayers. To the enormous economic advantage for thousands of new jobs which this project would have created and to the future development of Central Florida as a leader in rail transportation is beyond comprehension.
    The sooner we as Floridians remove the “Crook Scott” and all of his mob of underlings from office the better will be the advancement of the needs of the people of Florida.

    • The desires of the people? Floridians voted AGAINST it in 2004. Why are so many so heck bent on giving Floridians the finger and LYING about it? If it’s such a good idea, why not fund it yourself? Why won’t private companies pony up the cash?

      Because HSR has essentially been a flop almost everywhere it’s been tried.

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