In a surprise move with as little as a five-minute notice to key lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday rejected the nearly $2.4 billion allotted by the federal government to Florida for high-speed rail. Gov. Scott cited three economic reasons for rejecting the funds: First, capital overruns could cost taxpayers $3 billion; second, ridership and revenue projections are overly optimistic; and third, if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers, Florida will be required to return the $2.4 billion to the federal government. The rejection drew critical comments from state and congressional lawmakers, including Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee. On Thursday, a coalition of 26 state senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, requesting more time before reallocating Florida's funds to other states. Secretary LaHood responded by providing an additional week for high-speed rail supporters to develop an alternative plan. On Friday, Senate President Mike Haridopolos staked out a different position than his Senate colleagues, joining Gov. Scott by rejecting federal high-speed rail funds. President Haridopolos noted that “we are far better off reducing the $1.5 trillion in proposed deficit spending by this $2.4 billion than we are to build a rail project that has a questionable-at-best economic viability.”
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Governor Rick Scott rejects federal high-speed rail funds; Senate President Mike Haridopolos offers support while a coalition of senators protests
- Foley & Lardner LLP
- G. Donovan Brown , Michael P. Harrell, Robert H. Hosay, Jonathan P. Kilman, Paul W. Lowell and Thomas J. Maida
- February 21 2011
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