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Posted by on Feb 17, 2011 in Transit | 12 comments

Rail Roundup

Yesterday Gov. Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for high speed rail in Florida, killing decades of bipartisan effort.

A round-up of articles on this can be found here.

Chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee, John Mica, and Senator Bill Nelson will be looking for ways to bypass Scott’s decision.

You can keep track of the effort via this Facebook page:

Floridians for High Speed Rail and against Governor Rick Scott’s Decision

According to Mark Simpson’s piece on WMFE, Scott is “still reviewing plans for” Sunrail.

The implications for killing high speed rail will be felt all over the state. It will be felt locally in loss of business and loss of professional jobs at firms that have been working on the rail corridor plans.

A threat to Sunrail is a bigger threat to the future of this city. Alternative transportation is a linchpin for livability. In a metro area this size, mass transit is essential to maximize the potential for biking and walking. It is a key for allowing families to recover household income be reducing car use — income that can help drive the local economy. It is long overdue.

Hope for Sunrail is a reason many of us have held on, and kept on working to make things better here. Dashed hope, from commuter rail being killed repeatedly over the years, is a reason many good people have given up on Orlando and moved elsewhere.

UPDATE: White House Looking For Ways To Bypass Governor Who Rejected Funds For High-Speed Rail

UPDATE #2: Governor Gets Spanked by Florida Senate Republicans

A veto-proof majority of the Florida Senate rebuked Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday in a letter that urged the federal government to give the state $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money that Scott wants to reject.

12 Comments

  1. I feel so sick to my stomach about this. Lets hope Mica and Nelson can figure out a way to pull this off. If he is willing to kill projects that are already payed for, then what hope does sunrail have? I’ll never give up on Florida, but this is really disheartening and the thought of moving is becoming more and more apealing.

  2. from what i’ve seen, it looks like Governor Scott is treating his current office as another rung in his career ladder. he’ll continue to cut spending on useful projects while he gives himself a nice raise and helps his buddies in the private sector. the needs of the tax paying citizens take a back seat, and when his term is over he’ll just call in some favors to land a cushy job making 8 or 9 figures. it’s good to be the king, er guv’nor.

  3. California says thank you.

  4. I love the comment below the article:

    “At rate GOP govs are going, we might not get high-speed rail until China takes over and builds it”

    How true.

  5. “… is essential to maximize the potential for biking …”

    I can understand why cyclists would be impacted by killing light rail, buses, or commuter rail, but I admit I’m completely mystified why killing high speed rail would affect cyclists more than anybody else.

    • That quote came from my paragraph about Sunrail. Sunrail is local commuter rail.

  6. Even more critical for the state is that FTA is getting frustrated with proposed/planned rail projects in FL that can’t get off the ground. Much time and resources have been spent on these projects and I believe that if HSR is killed, the feds will likely look past FL when it comes to approving rail projects.

    Also, Scott didn’t save FL one dime. Didn’t create one job (actually killed many thousands of jobs). Didn’t do anything to address the defecit (not that I really know what the federal defecit has to do with the governor of FL). Seems to me Scott just wanted attention and to make waves on a national stage.

    • Not that I want to defend Mr. Scott, but FL was required to pick up a not-so-whopping 10% of the project. So he did “save” some money. But the cost of this decision is far, far higher than this trivial sum.

    • “Let’s not turn this into Republicans vs Democrats. It only alienates people.”

      As far as I can tell, no one is doing that here.

      Support for HSR is bipartisan. As was the rebuke of Scott’s decision.

  7. http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/february/211041/High-speed-rail-rally-in-Orlando:

    “ORLANDO —
    Supporters of the high-speed rail plan that would connect Orlando and Tampa plan to rally in Downtown Orlando Wednesday evening.

    The Orlando High-Speed Rail group has taken to Facebook to spread the word.

    The event is scheduled for Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Rosalind Avenue, near Lake Eola.”

    I figure I need to show my face for something like this. Anyone else not busy come down and lend your support as well.