Scott rejects federal rail funds for Florida
February 16th, 2011
12:27 PM ET
11 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. Kansas Joe

    Fine. More for us Loser.

    February 16, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Sgt Schultz

    Isn't this the same man that pleaded the 5th admendent to skirt prosecution for ripping off taxpayers...not once but 20 times in court? What a shocker he is an ideologue that doesn't get the value of having a modern rail system. Gee Europe and Japan only have us beat by 40 years. Gotta love how the Neo-Confederates want to turn back the clock to the 18th century.

    February 16, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    It's not that he looks like an idiot – it's that he is an idiot.
    Florida is a welfare state and now their top lunatic has refused govt money?
    All across America we need high speed rail for many reasons, maybe visiting and spending money in Florida should be avoided – for many reasons.

    February 16, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. La, La, La

    What an nut job, leave it to a Florida Republican!

    Florida needs this probably more than any other state.

    February 16, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Video Guy

    Great cut all funds allocated to Florida. Simple way to help the other 49 states. You can add Ohio (home of sunshine boner) to that list too.

    February 16, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Michael tampa

    No surprise here, this is is an idiot and a crook. I can't believe i live in a state that elected him.

    February 16, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. The Other Dale

    "I was elected to get this state back to work. But since it's Obama offering the jobs, I'm refusing because I like pitching a fit even if it hurts everyone in my state. Next I plan to hold my breath until jobs magically appear. I can do it, because I'm full of hot air anyway."

    February 16, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. diridi

    what an idiot...I bet he is given money by GM, Chevy....o.k...just like Cleveland, and Detroit...

    February 16, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. ermac

    Thats nuts. Give the funding to California. We can certainly use the infrastructure to match other developed cities around the world

    February 16, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Mrs DemocratGirl

    Finally, someone with some balz to do what's right.

    February 16, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. "YOU GO FIRST"

    Because the lack of leadership in the Democratc-party is the reason the GOP regained the House majority in 2010.
    Now, Pres Obamas' leadership stradegy is passing the buck by not presenting a real-budget to meet todays reality.
    Calling for: "For short-term pain and for long-term gain"....! Prolonging the action-plan is not an option.
    Mr President it is you who must take actions to lead...the time for adult-conversatiion and idle talk is over...Therefore
    Mr President "YOU GO FIRST" the country expect nothing less from the White House.....!!!!

    February 16, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. mark

    How about cut all future fema aid to Florida then as well

    February 16, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. paul

    ah yes, a bright future is always a dark ages infrastructure.....

    February 16, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. CRA

    Christies pulled funds for a rail line to help people commute but gave funds for another casino. So he killed a project that would have given good paying construction jobs and gave money for minimum wage jobs. So Republican.

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Bob in PA

    All these so called progressives in this administration have grandiose visions of packing us all into "Hub" cities and clearing out us Urban Sprawl scum.

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. John in Brooklyn

    As just a brief history lesson, I want to remind Governor Scott about the interstate highway system, first conceived in the early 1800's with the creation of the National Road, which ran from western Maryland to Illinois. Southern conservatives at the time, like Scott, fought vigorously against expansion of the system, making almost identical arguments posed by Scott regarding the size of the federal government, free market job creation, etc. The result? No major highways were built in the South until the 1900's and, in the meantime, northern states prospered and built a huge indutrial base while the southern states continued to be mired in agricultural poverty unable to even get their goods to market in a timely fashion. Apparently Governor Scoot didn't pay attention in school...maybe that explains why he doesn't support them either.

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Marcus

    What does (R) governors have against high-speed trains?
    Oh, wait, it's a (D) POTUS (and VP) that are behind the idea....

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Rich

    nice. Keep the Floridians in their cars and keep those oil wars coming!

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. RBTL

    As a citizen of Florida who DID NOT vote for Rick Scott it's natural I don't agree with him most of the time. What should be important to Floridians who DID vote for him is that with barely 30 days in office he has already broken his word on several of his promises and embraced the same "corrupt Tallahassee" insiders he professed to reject while running for office. This may be Mr. Scott's first elected office but you have to hand it to him, he acts like he's been a politician all his life.

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Dick Scott

    What a grandstand. When will our country learn that this is exactly the type of spending we DO need? China will be killing us quickly, if we don't see through this kind of stupid political pandering.

    February 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Dolce21

    Amen to that, who needs a rail system for gosh sakes, in these times and economy. They will put like a minimal amount of people to work, for a short period of time. Change in obama bothering him, so he has to spend it!

    February 16, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Bigge

    Great job, I thought the Flintstones was just a cartoon.. Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott will keep the state in the stone ages.....Outragous.....

    February 16, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. gt

    if the rest of the gov. would do the same and not waste money the country does not have we would be alot better off..

    February 16, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Rickster

    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.

    February 16, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. badcyclist

    All red states should be truly principled and refuse all federal aid. Then the blue states that subsidize them will finally get their federal tax dollars back.

    February 16, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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