[UPDATE] Amtrak, 15 States Get $2 Billion That Florida Lost For Rail

By: The News Service of Florida; AP; Capitol News
By: The News Service of Florida; AP; Capitol News

[UPDATE] 5-9 -Capitol News--

Florida turned down so much money for high speed rail that the Feds had to spread it out among 15 states.

Governor Rick Scott turned down the 2.4 billion dollars earlier this year over the objections of lawmakers. Today the Federal Department of Transportation divided up the money to states ready to build rail systems. Brad Ashwell with Florida Public Interest Research Group, fought to try and save the state’s high speed rail project. He says without rail, gas prices will keep raising.

“The only way to really lower gas prices it to decrease our fuel consumption and the best way to do that is through public transit. It’s expensive, but it’s a worthwhile investment and we need to do it,” said Ashwell.

The rail would have run from Tampa to Orlando. Some studies claim it would have created 40-thousands jobs. Scott says most of those jobs would have been temporary and he says he killed the project because the state would have been on the hook to pay for the rail if it didn’t generate enough customers to pay for itself.

The Obama administration is giving Amtrak and rail projects in 15 states the $2 billion that Florida lost after the governor canceled plans for high-speed train service.

A Department of Transportation statement Monday said the largest
share of the money -- nearly $800 million -- will be used to upgrade
train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on critical segments of the
heavily traveled Northeast corridor.

Another $404 million will go to expand high-speed rail service
in the Midwest, including newly constructed segments of 110-mph
track between Detroit and Chicago that are expected to save
passengers 30 minutes in travel time.

The money had initially been awarded to Florida for high-speed
trains between Tampa and Orlando. Gov. Rick Scott canceled the


WASHINGTON (The News Service of Florida) -- April 14, 2011 -

And now nobody will get any high speed rail money this year. The budget steal struck on Capitol Hill late last week aimed at keeping the federal government open struck the entire $2.9 billion that would have been available for states to use for high speed rail, much of it money that Florida threw back into the pot. In fact, Gov. Rick Scott earlier this week took credit for making some of that money available for Congress to cut from the budget when he rejected money for high speed rail for Florida. The New York Times on Tuesday called the scrubbing of high speed money a major setback for the Obama administration, which has wanted to spend more than $50 billion over six years to get high speed rail going in the country in an effort to catch up with Japan and some European countries where it’s common. Twenty-four other states had sought some of the money the Scott administration rejected.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- April 6, 2011 -

Federal transportation officials say 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak are competing for $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money that was to have gone to a project in Florida.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement released
Wednesday that his department is reviewing 90 rail project
applications requesting a total of $10 billion.

The deadline for the applications was Monday.

Last month, LaHood took back the $2.4 billion that had been
designated for a Florida project that would have connected Tampa
and Orlando with high-speed trains. Gov. Rick Scott canceled the
project, saying he didn't want to obligate the state to make up any
operating losses.

A state government report had forecast the project would be

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