Scott rejects federal rail funds for Florida
February 16th, 2011
12:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Scott rejects federal rail funds for Florida

Washington (CNN) - Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $432 million in highly-touted funding from the Obama administration for an Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail Wednesday. Slamming government for becoming "addicted to spending," Scott listed three reasons why accepting the federal funds would amount to a "recipe for disaster."

In a statement, Scott said "I was elected to get Floridians back to work and to change the way government does business in our state."

He becomes the third Republican governor to reject the White House initiative for high speed rail, joining Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio's Gov. John Kasich.

Among Scott's reasons for rejecting the funds allocated to Florida: "Capital cost overruns that could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion," "overly optimistic" ridership and revenue projections, and $2.4 billion owed to the feds if the project "becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down."

Citing a Florida budget proposal sent to the legislature that "reduces the size and scope of government, reduces the costs of that government and passes those cost savings on to taxpayers" in order to "create new jobs and turn Florida's economy around," Scott determined that "higher taxes and more government spending is a recipe for disaster," and, subsequently, that the rail project was a bust.

He said he spoke with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday and informed him of the decision to reject funds. In the statement he continued with a reminder: "Government has no resources of its own. Government can only give to us what it has previously taken from us."

The Obama administration previously pulled $1.2 billion in funding from Ohio and Wisconsin after their newly-elected governors vowed to kill high-speed rail projects that were underway. Though both governors asked to use the intended rail funds for different purposes, LaHood announced he would re-direct the funds to other states.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden originally announced the $8 billion stimulus package plan for 13 high speed rail corridor projects across the country in Tampa one year ago. A map reflecting the administration's "Vision for High-Speed Rail in America" has significantly changed with the withdrawal of Wisconsin, Ohio, and now Florida, a state which Obama and Biden carried in 2008.

The award of funds to Florida, originally sought by then-Governor Charlie Crist, represented a significant federal investment in the state.

Another Republican governor, Chris Christie of New Jersey, axed a massive infrastructure project that would have linked New Jersey and New York with a second rail tunnel, putting a damper on plans to ramp up rail in the U.S. Christie expressed concerns about ballooning costs and pulled the plug on the project in October 2010. The federal government promptly asked for a return of $271 million in federal funds already spent to launch the new line.

Filed under: Chris Christie • John Kasich • Rick Scott • Scott Walker • Stimulus
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Greenspam

    Weird. Florida open-handedly accepted all fed funds when Bush was the President and Bush was the governor 🙂

    February 16, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Scott, a corrupt dangerous man, now the darn Florida governor ....whatttttt!!!!!........why did we elect this useless person for?........Well Helllooooooooo!!! Scott!!!! Florida's income is from the tourists that come visit and if you provide them with trains, they will spend double because it will be convenient for them and for Floridians for that matter to visit places and spend more.......Didn't you realize that by refusing help you actually closed the door to hundreds of thousand jobs... yess mam!!! hundreds of thousands jobs if not a million. Who is gonna do the study and design plans and build the rail ? who is gonna build it, besides the mexicans :)......who is gonna benefit from all these projects ? all of us including Floridians who will get more business because of more tourists around....etc ........If you want to grow your economy mam, build highways, rails...etc....................What a scumbag

    February 16, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    Bobby Jindal did the same thing in LA. I think these macho-wanna-be Repubs. are afraid that being linked to a rail system makes them look, EURPOEAN-(Socialist). What broad minds for supposed educated "leaders".

    February 16, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Lisa P

    Yup, nothing these new Republican governors hate more than jobs or investing in infrastructure improvements. Republican voters, take note! Those jobs these guys keep promising won't pay enough for you to take the train anyway. But, hey, the call center is just a telecommute away...

    February 16, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Mark

    I think the republicans are simply saying cut spending just to hear themselves say it. Republicans make me want to live in another country.

    February 16, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    First World Country with Third World transit.

    February 16, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Inmyopinion

    High speed rail from Orlando to Tampa is no big deal, cities are not that far from each other. Floridians had already rejected, did not vote for the idea of a high speed rail from Miami to Orlando several years ago when Gov. Bush put it on the ballot, so this is not a new decision by Floridians.

    February 16, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. snow bird

    didnt he want to have the japanese build the rail system not too long ago

    February 16, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Agnim

    No problem! Just more transportation funding for states that do not have anally-retentive & lost lunatics as their leaders

    February 16, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Florida is probably having second thoughts about electing this FELON!

    February 16, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Real Patriots Do MORE than Salute the flag, They educate themselves


    Good move by Scott. The democrats and their stupid, useless "green jobs" agenda will never understand how real world economics actually works. Perhaps if they took an economics class in college rather than 8 years worth of "diversity studies" they'd have a better understanding of how the business world works.

    I see little Ricky flunked his Econ 101. Supply side aka 'Trickle Down" doesn't work. Say l'il Ricky, what was it that got the country out of the Great Depression? Was it cutting/slashing and making sure the wealthy were taken care of? If you answer "yes" to that, you're wrong again. You shall now be dubbed "Wrongster"

    February 16, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Laverne

    Well, wouldn't this project put a whole lot of people to work??? These republicans are not interested in creating jobs, they hope jobs are not created so they can stand a better chance of winning the white house. Republicans are a poor excuse for patriotism and even a poorer excuse for an American!

    February 16, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    He looks a lot like Jerad Lautner.

    February 16, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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