Rick Scott Kills Jobs by Declining Obama's $2.4 Billion High-Speed Rail Plan

Categories: Politicks
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The Obama administration was set to spend $2.4 billion to build a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando in a project that would have created thousands of jobs, but Governor Rick Scott has drowned the plan in a big pot of ideological tea killing all those jobs with it. Now, some other state will receive the jobs, funding and brand new state-of-the-art infrastructure.

America has lagged behind other parts of the world in the development of high-speed railways, and the line between Orlando and Tampa was planned to be the first initiative in President Obama's plan to introduce the transportation system across the country. The line was eventually supposed to be extended to connect Miami to Orlando.

High-speed rail helps to reduce traffic on interstates and reduces gas consumption. In many cases it also spurs other development.

The state of Florida wouldn't have had to spend a penny on the rail, as the construction would have come out of stimulus funds. Though, Scott apparently wasn't down with the idea.

"Put simply, the proposed high-speed rail line is far too uncertain and offers far too little long-term benefit for me to consider moving forward," Scott wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican.

In further remarks Scott clearly put his decision in ideological terms.

"The answer is to reduce government spending, cut government's leash on our state's job creators and then hold government accountable for the investments it makes," Scott said.

Yet, it's unlikely a private company will ever introduce high-speed rail to Florida. Many saw the initiative as equivalent to Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's initiative to fund the interstate highway system in the '50s.

"If Florida would've had a governor who rejected President Eisenhower's idea, we wouldn't have an interstate system," tweeted Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

"This project could have supported thousands of good-paying jobs for Floridians and helped grow Florida businesses, all while alleviating congestion on Florida's highways," LaHood said in a statement.

"Nevertheless, there is overwhelming demand for high-speed rail in other states that are enthusiastic to receive Florida's and the economic benefits it can deliver, such as manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as private development along its corridors."

Scott mentioned other infrastructure projects he would have liked to have seen the money go to, but he seems to have a juvenile understanding on how the federal budget works. Because Florida has now declined the $2.4 billion, it will be used to fund high-speed rails and create jobs in other states.

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12 comments
Zarka Steven
Zarka Steven

the acceptance of the voters ,previous governor ,and the whole of the legislature should be upheld!!The citizens of florida have voted in two referendums for high speed rail..over 63 percent of voters want this and voted for it..our governor is subverting the will of florida voters and has lost 24,000 shovel ready jobs just on the surface.This train would be a huge attraction for tourists..our main industry..governor rick scott is a short sighted and subverting the will of voters.

Tommy
Tommy

Biggest waste of money that has ever been allocated! Well done Rick Scott. I don't know 54 who would use it, but I sure know 1000's who wouldn't!

That guy in the white house is deaming of an indealisic society that is just a figment of his imagination (and a few others). That America is not where I want to live

Asti223
Asti223

He's right, as long as the 50 states continue to be dependent on the federal government nothing good will ever happen. You accept 2.4 billion today and when the train lines need repairs where do you get the cash? All 50 states need to be self sufficient.

Gtoracer65
Gtoracer65

I feel lke not mamy people would use it.Thanks Rick Scott

Jojo
Jojo

Thank you for using the headline the Miami Herald and every newspaper in Florida is afraid to use! Gov. Thief must not have been able to figure out a way to siphon off the money to his big-biz buddies that put him in TLH. Pig.

KingChiefGator
KingChiefGator

Why not make a play to use 75 million from that 2.4 billion to dredge the port of Miami?

Lucky
Lucky

You must live in Hardee county. Did you get past the 3rd grade, did you marry your cousin?

nevernot
nevernot

Like all other rail lines are designed to do, once they are constructed the repair and upkeep of the properties are paid for with fares collected. BTW, all 50 states are the federal government. Don't forget we are a representational democracy, we send members from each state to a central location to deal with issues larger than one state can handle.

nevernot
nevernot

Regardless of your feelings, I KNOW at least 54 people that would use it on a regular basis, not including UCF students that have family elsewhere in South Florida.

nevernot
nevernot

That money was set aside specifically for the high speed rail project that we mandated in a vote years ago. It would be illegal to use the funds for anything other than that one project.

Mjklap
Mjklap

Boy, are YOU dreaming! The reason several governors are declining the high speed rail funds is because once the systems are built, the STATES will be responsible for operating and maintaining them. Fares cannot be high enough to cover the costs of operations and maintenance, because they would end up being more expensive than airfare or gas costs. AMTRAK has proven this for years. Without government subsidies, AMTRAK would not exist.

Sure, it SOUNDS nice to have high speed rail magically appear, but the reality is it will likely cost 2 - 3 TIMES what they project, the fare revenues will NOT support the system, and the states (meaning taxpayers) will end up holding the bag for the costs.

Those writers who equate this to the interstate highway system started during the Eisenhower Administration do not realize that the highway system was originally started for national defense. Once developed, they turned out to be a good idea, and were expanded, helping commerce, tourism and interstate transport of goods. High speed rail will ultimately benefit the very few people who feel like riding it, while costing the taxpayers billions. Very bad public policy.

I can tell the political bias of this newspaper from the headline "Rick Scott Kills Jobs..." The high speed rail boondoggle benefits the unions and General Electric. Period!

nevernot
nevernot

You are making an awful lot of pure assumptions there. Assumptions that don't reflect the current state of mass transit in South Florida. Tri Rail is doing just fine on fares alone, as is Metro Rail. Currently we move nearly as much cargo up the rail lines as we do on the highways, and at a cost significantly lower financially and environmentally than via trucks. We also have the issue of overdevelopment that forbids us from continuing to expand the highway system effectively. On the subject of our national highway system, the reasoning behind it being built is irrelevant to the end result. It pulled us out of the great depression by getting hundreds of thousands back to work at a time of high unemployment. See any parallels here? Bottom line is regardless of whether or not you think it's a boondoggle, Floridians voted for it, the fed approved and sent us the funds, now our criminal governor wants to kill it. Current estimates claim this would have created 48,000 jobs. Call it what you want, but I call it a jobs program in a state with high unemployment and a governor firing tens of thousands of public employees while campaigning on job creation.

BTW, Unions and General Electric employ people and would need to hire thousands of new employees to move forward with this project.

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