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. NVa Native

    To understand the real world you would need to understand science, history, and above all else think for your self.
    Clearly the Repubs can't handle any of these basic functions of intelligence and would rather revert to the good old days that really never existed. There is a reason Repubs lost the Senate in 2010 and many reasons why no normal Republican is even thinking of running in 2012.

    February 16, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. William Powell

    The citizens of Floridia elected this CLOWN!!! For all of you that didn't vote this is what you get. The states unemployent is high, the enconomy is in the tank, housing floreclosures are ridiculous. A chance for new technology/jobs brought to your state and your governor turns it down!

    February 16, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "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."

    Thank you for sharing your veiled bigotry.

    February 16, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Patrick Ptak

    Stupid liberals commenting here. The gov didn't return the money because he hates rail or hates the president. It says right there in the article! The federal money doesn't cover the whole project. The construction will still require additional taxes from Florida citizens, aka lets borrow/tax more. He's making the very difficult, right move. Who turns down money? – Wipe off the partisan glaze that distorts your views

    February 16, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Clwyd

    I think scott has forgotten the word, "Progress!" High Speed rail has been in place throughout the world for a decade and we keep falling behinh. Thanks for keeping us Neanderthals!

    February 16, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. BC

    Rail is also used to tranport products across the country. This is great advantage to businesses to get their products faster and cheaper than trucking across the country

    February 16, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The governor is obviously more interested in headlines than his state or constituents. Thea t high speed rial would enable Florida to increase tourism to Orlando, would create jobs immediately and would help bring travel in to the 21st centurty. The other side of high speed rail is safety. This takes cras and families off the road. Then there is the fuel and eco value ot high speed rial.
    But that's OK Governor- you make your stand- Florida be damned.

    February 16, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Publius13

    More stupidity from a short-sighted ideologue. Scott's "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,'" will create about as many new jobs as did George 43's tax cuts. Here's a news flash for you Gov. Scott. Every Florida state government employee who loses his or her job because of your insatiable drive for tax cuts will go straight to the unemployment line. Every state construction project that doesn't happen or is shut down because of your budget cuts will have a multiplier effect in decreasing your state's economic activity. Look at what happened in the UK. Budget cuts and civil servant layoffs put the UK right back into the recession. Do Republicans have any grasp of economics at all? Have they ever heard of the multiplier effect?

    February 16, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Bill

    Let's make sure we do not send any federal funds to this goof the next time his state get blasted by a hurricane.

    February 16, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Name king

    It's amazing how these repugs all ways screaming amaghedon is co
    Ing armaghedon is coming, for the past two years, I wonder when they start realizing that during bush tirmoil, are at the beginning of Obama reign, why are these people determine to set our country back, years and them complain about china's rise and every one else. They have blindly done every thing in this country to discredit this president, why are we even surprised that nearly 76 percent of repugs think Obama is not a citizen, when two separate news paper recorded his birth in Hawaii at his conception along with his birth certificate. Unless they are secretly saying Hawaii is not apart of the united states even though they pay taxes. These people don't give a dam about politics, they just hate Obama because they fear history is going to recognize him
    Of one of the greatest in history, a d they can't sleep at night on that thought.

    February 16, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. gar

    The Republican vision for America... no jobs, no progress, big government intrustion into citizens' personal lives and lots of guns for everyone.

    February 16, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Sue

    Most people understand why Obama and the Democrats are pushing for the choo-choo trains throughout the country. It is because they MUST spend money to get the unions back to work--even if it is a waste of money. If Obama does not buy jobs for the unions, they might not show up to vote for Obama and the Democrats in 2012.

    February 16, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Novatrain

    So some other deserving state will get the money, and the taxpayers of Florida will get what they deserve for electing this idiot - no economic benefits or growth.

    February 16, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. J. Miller

    Failing to invest in needed infrastructure will make the Florida region less economically competitive. Not only does it mean less immediate jobs in a state that's been hit hard by the recession, it will mean long term economic decline. Conservative's spending policies are bound to mean a spiraling down of future growth opportunities. Its a recipe for economic disaster.

    February 16, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Ben Ben

    What an idiot. I guess he don't care about jobs like his buddies in Congress.

    February 16, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. SurroundedByFools

    GOOD ON GOV. SCOTT! High speed rail is a waste of billions of dollars. It takes 1.5 hours to drive from Tampa to Orlando. The stations for these trains would be at the airports, with two stops in between Tampa and Orlando. Do NOT mistake "high speed rail" for Jap-style bullet trains. These "high speed rail" plans are much much slower. Go look it up for yourself.

    It would take significantly more than 1.5 hours to drive to the airport, find parking, go thru security (oh yes there will be security!), hop the train, make two stops along the way, arrive at the other airport, rent a car/taxi, and get to your final destination...and the costs to drive to the airport, parking fees, train tix, and rental cars/taxis would far exceed getting in your car and going. There is no advantage here for passengers...not time, not cost, not convenience.

    Costs will exceed revenues, and become an anchor on this state. We don't need this. Give the taxpayers OUR MONEY back Le' Hood!

    February 16, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    Nice going Florida, you just cheated yourself of money and jobs....but keep voting creeps in, because it's been working so well for you...

    February 16, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. kakaraka

    China is surpassing US in high speed raill, high speed internet. But these idiots who spend billions of dollars on Iraq war don't want American innovate and develop its States. What a waco these republicans who put politics before real development projects are. I'm sick of these idiots republicans.

    February 16, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. seebofubar

    You're all idiots! There is only two high speed rail systems in the entire world that actually break even, one in France and one in Japan. All other high speed rails in the world and ALL passanger rail systems in the US can only exist because of government subsidies. Your taxes are subsidizing the stock broker who rides the rail system from Albany to NY city. Governors are not stupid enough to take funds to build a loosing rail system. If a high speed rail system could be a profitable self sustaining buisness, don't you think that private industry would have built it?

    February 16, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Get A Grip

    Why would anyone take rail? The airplanes made them obsolete. Good for Gov. Scott for saying 'NO' A word more need to tell Obama. This was just one more move from Obama to create more jobs for his unions buddies. Good for you Gov. Scott for not bowing to pressure from this guy. The Fed's need their credit cards cut up!!!

    February 16, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Randy

    How many of you ride ride Amtrak to work everyday. How many of you have ever ridden Amtrak. How many of you are willing to give up your car and ride a train every where you go. Good job Gov. on not buying into this money pit. Amtrak wouldn't be around except that I pay taxes for it, but still get stuck paying for a train system that is a 4 hour drive from my house. I just looked at a trip on amtrak cost $71 round trip from omaha to Denver. Same flight cost $244. Problem is I am traveling by train 8 hours average each way which costs me a lot more than the $173 I am paying for the hour and half flight average. I have to put in the averages because of the time difference.

    February 16, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I'd like to see Governor Scott's comments as it relates to funding the Iraq War Farce under "W." If funding efficient, high speed rail is tantamount to hurting the country, then his comments on the Iraq WEar Farce must be decisive as well.

    Or more so, how do you feel, Governor Scott, about the money grab by Halliburton during the same war – you know where they billed the government as many as 9 times for the same service, and it got paid under "W"?

    Well, Governor Scott, what are they?!

    February 16, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Ken

    Take THAT, people who want to work for their money... keep collecting unemployment, Gov.Scott and Gov Christie won't dare let you actually work for a paycheck.

    February 16, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Charlotte, NC

    Give it to us we will take it.

    February 16, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. greg in jax

    @sgt schultz.... he pled the 5 a total of 75 times.. he is nothing but an unconvicted criminal who bought his way into the governors mansion on the votes of gullible seniors and partisan pricks.

    February 16, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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