Tallahassee, FL - A 30 foot long paper scroll carrying the names of rail supporters made its way to Governor Rick Scott’s office Thursday.
The petition, signed by nearly 3-thousand Floridians most in just 24 hours, asks the governor to change his mind about high speed rail, and accept the 2.4 billion federal dollars for the project.
On the list are the names of hundreds of environmentalists, business people, and construction workers. They say the rail line from Tampa to Orlando would create 48-thousand jobs, alleviate traffic on I-4 and begin to ease the need for oil.
“High speed rail isn’t right leaning or left leaning, if it’s leaning anywhere it’s leaning forward,” said Patrick Gittard, with Florida Public Interest Research Group.
Scott didn’t come out to meet the organizers; a staffer took the petition to his office.
If the petition doesn’t change Scott’s mind, the Florida Supreme Court may force his hand. Two state senators are suing Scott, asking the high court to decide if his decision to reject the money is legal.”
Oral arguments were heard late Thursday afternoon. Supporters of high speed rail say they don’t care how the project comes to Florida, just as long as it comes.
“There are high powered officials pressuring the governor from every angle. We thought it was important today to make sure the citizen’s voices were heard,” said Brad Ashwell with PIRG.
The US Department of Transportation is watching the events. They’ve pledged to give Florida’s rail money to another state if a resolution isn’t reached by Friday afternoon. Florida Public Interest Research Group and Florida Conservation Alliance gathered the signatures. The groups say the state needs to develop alternative forms of transportation as soon as possible.