Tallahassee, FL - Florida has flirted with high speed rail since 1983 when then-Governor Bob Graham traveled to Japan.
The latest plan wold have built a system between Tampa and Orlando, with federal and private money. Referring to taxpayers as investors, Governor Rick Scott says the plan is just too risky.
“The truth is, this plan would be far too costly to taxpayers. And I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits,” Scott said.
Scott questioned ridership studies and accused the Obama administration of reckless spending. But unions, who supported the plan, say Florida’s jobs governor is anything but.
“There is a total of 48,000 jobs anticipated to have been created as spin-off from all the different economic activity that would take place whenever you create some type of new infrastructure like high-speed rail,” Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO said.
Scott’s decision leaves in limbo a commuter rail system in Central Florida. That system was supposed to be a feeder for high-speed rail.
Scott put the commuter rail contracts on hold shortly after taking office.
Republican and Democratic legislators who represent both ends of the proposed line are criticizing the decision.
“Oh, I’m very concerned,” Rep. Dwayne Taylor (D-Volusia County) said. “Because we worked very hard to try to secure those dollars because we knew that this would mean jobs for the citizens of our state.”
Legislative leadership was publicly muted on the give back, but privately unhappy. They were given only 5 minutes advance notice of the decision.