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Florida Governor Rick Scott rejects proposed Federal high-speed rail project

Florida Governor Rick Scott has informed US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood of the state’s decision to reject President Obama’s Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project.

The Governor said the decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

  1. Capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

  2. Ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million – $575 million over 10 years). As a note, Florida subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

  3. If the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to DC.

The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits. Historical data shows capital cost overruns are pervasive in 9 out of 10 high speed rail projects and that 2/3 of those projects inflated ridership projections by an average of 65 percent of actual patronage. It is projected that 3.07 million people will use the train annually. Keep in mind that Amtrak’s Acela train in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore only had 3.2 million riders in 2010. And that market’s population is 8 times the size of the Tampa/Orlando market.

...Rather than investing in a high-risk rail project, we should be focusing on improving our ports, rail and highway infrastructure to be in a position to attract the increased shipping that will result when the Panama Canal is expanded when the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama are ratified and with the expansion of the economies of Central and South America.

—Governor Scott

Comments

danm

I-4 between Orlando & Tampa is a very crowded freeway and would be a good candidate for a rail option. Most days it is stop & go and many times I wished there were an alternative.
If they just had a rail from Orlando airport to Disney world it would take thousands of vehicles off that freeway.

ejj

The project, as structured financially & considering the dire economic straits of the US, was a bad deal. As soon as the dregs of society started establishing themselves permanently on the trains, ridership would plummet & taxpayers would be stuck with the tab. Californians aren't going to care but at least there is some common sense left in Florida. The US is 14 trillion dollars in debt and is about to be completely bankrupted by medicare, medicaid and social security obligations. We have a government that wants to continue to pay for military bases in Korea, Japan, England, Germany, Italy which gets the US nothing in return. China continues its currency manipulation & other countries trash the US with their corrupt trading practices, while we sit idly by and do nothing about it. Our juvenile president wants to continue spending as if mommy and daddy have given him a credit card with no credit limit, and he & his party have demonstrated no maturity whatsoever on fiscal issues. America is not western europe or Asia & rail cannot be established & funded the same way here as it is over there. Rick Scott did the right thing....they need to figure out a different way to get rail established.

kelly

Check history, the Republicans are the true overspenders:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

Republican waste, greed, and deregulation gave us 'global financial meltdown.'

Return the tax rate on rich to pre-Reagan levels, return/enhance 'big business' regulation, end financing foreign country invasion/occupation, care for American health, and the US can enjoy high speed rail, and more - like a dozen bickering European nations have for decades.

ai_vin

Hey kelly, I got something for you to read: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/01/26-0

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt [you possibly know his background], a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican

ejj

I've got something for you to read:

http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html - Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

HarveyD

ejj...are you certain that USA is that saintly? Is that past, recent or future situation? All we here and read about is more and more speculation, scams, embezzlements, scandals, collusions, complicities, connivances, conspiracies, misrepresentations etc. Haven't you read some of the Wikileak findings? With many more thousands to come, you may have to change your mind.

sheckyvegas

Hey! I have something for you ALL to read -
Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr Seuss.
oooh-ho-ho-ho! that kooky Sam I Am...

danm

ejj,
i'm sure Gov Scott took a very close look at the numbers and it wasn't a clearcut win for florida. otherwise, no gov would decline a jobs program today.

However, your comment "As soon as the dregs of society started establishing themselves permanently on the trains, " ... having the dregs ride the train keeps them off the freeway, so you can drive your car in less traffic. If they're not on the train they're driving some heap blowing blue smoke and clogging the freeway.

Reel$$

"All we here and read about is more and more speculation, scams, embezzlements, scandals, collusions, complicities, connivances, conspiracies, misrepresentations etc.

Written like a true misanthrope!! We are talking about Mars, right?

kelly

"Reagan, Greenspan, Winniski, and Laffer took the federal budget deficit from under a trillion dollars in 1980 to almost three trillion by 1988, and back then a dollar could buy far more than it buys today. They and George HW Bush ran up more debt in eight years than every president in history, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter, combined."..
"The Two Santa Claus theory isn't dead, as we can see from today's Republican rhetoric. Hopefully, though, reality will continue to sink in with the American people and the massive fraud perpetrated by Wanniski, Reagan, Laffer, Graham, Bush(s), and all their "conservative" enablers will be seen for what it was and is. And the Obama administration can get about the business of repairing the damage and recovering the stolen assets of these cheap hustlers."

Thanks ai vin. Wiki exposes similar facts.

kelly

""Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."

Thanks ejj. Change Harry's last name to Terrorist and one has the constitutional spirit, if not exact text, of the Decider's Patriot Act and historic missions accomplished.

ejj

"Agents of the United States Handicapper General" = liberals

"Handicaps" = redistributionist policies (kelly's class envy put into practice)

The United States in 2081 of Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron = kelly's utopia! No one would have anything or be anything which she would be envy!

ejj

The United States in 2081 of Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron = kelly's utopia! No one would have anything or be anything which she would envy!

ai_vin

Got another one; http://www.slate.com/?id=2071929

The words of Harry Truman are as true today as when he uttered them generations ago: "If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic."

kelly

ejj, like light, society and wealth should have a broad spectrum of values.

A nation where 1% of the population bought the laws to own 95% of the nation's wealth has failed. Without a middle class, there is no mass market base for mass production - just the poor getting sicker and poorer while the rich get richer and more corrupt - until the absolutely corrupt few justly lose their heads.

Even the Bible compares the morality and wisdom of the rich and the probability of their entering heaven to the likelihood of a camel passing through the eye of a needle.

Directly concerning "Florida Governor Rick Scott rejects proposed Federal high-speed rail project" perhaps Florida's 'risk' is a lie -

http://evworld.com/currents.cfm?jid=172

ejj

Oh look! Even more class envy! How (not) surprising.

I would not be opposed to rail at this time if our government had a surplus, if the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" was actually recovering America with the "investment". But everything the president & his party has done to recover America has failed! What part of 10 percent unemployment and $5 trillion of new spending do you not understand?

I don't like the idea of the uber rich pulling all the strings of America either. But I also don't like government de-incentivizing success and work either directly or indirectly. I have no problem with people who have EARNED their wealth through hard work, and by doing everything society asks to move forward. I don't like trillions of new spending with nothing to show for it.

kelly

ejj, I don't have your "class envy" of being rich or poor, but I would like the security I/one has all ready paid with fifty years of taxes: federal, state, city, excise, luxury, plus licensing, interest fees etc - BESIDES insurance: social security, medical, dental, vision, etc. - not to mention six years of risking one's life in the US military.

Not some CRAP where, after fifty years of premiums, health care is denied when actually needed because of BS "preconditions" like old age or a health imperfection.

CRAP where America pays 17% GDP for healthcare, twice the world universal healthcare average, yet gets a lower lifespan. But we have the world's wealthiest doctors, medical insurance firms, drug companies, and our "representatives" seem to get their healthcare.

The public already PAID for equal or BETTER healthcare than it's public "servants".

Same healthcare for all, or will you kick Rep. Gabrielle Gifford out of her hospital room?

You can BET your/our medical benefits would be "exhausted" were we in months of intensive care - and we're her 'boss'.

Budget shortfall? Enact no foreign military spending until America's border is sealed and her citizens as healthy and productive as possible. Maybe even improve the nation's infrastructure.

Since we mastered the hydrogen bomb, nearly every US war has clearly been a huge waste and mistake.

Unless your one of those daddy war-bucks who thinks we got our money's worth out of Vietnam($588 billion wasted, 58,000 US dead, 2 million Vietnamese dead - for what?).

The Bush "mission accomplished' war DECADES already cost $TRILLIONS, we still, allegedly, "can't get out", and have turned 1.4 billion Moslem's into actual or potential "terrorist" enemies - just because we invade and occupy their homes. Those bastards..

Kinda gives you that 'warm and fuzzy' feeling of security - sorta like US health insurance - don't it..

HarveyD

Many good points kelly. The right wing heroes did not do very well as Presidents. More useless Wars and more Debts is their lot. Clinton was much more effective with no Wars and Surpluses.

The last right wing President sank USA's economy and credibility for decades. Sir Winston would say that never was so much damage done in so little time by one President. Fixing it may take 3 or 4 times longer if it is possible to fix. Could you imagine what another right winger could do in 4 or 8 years.

What is remarkable is that the majority wants more of it.

Poor America.

ejj

Kinda hard to argue against no attacks on US soil since 9/11! Now we get a president that bows before the Saudis and embarks on a global apology tour ...for what? Lara Logan almost getting gang raped in Egypt? If American healthcare & wealthy successful people are so offensive - LEAVE! No one is stopping you! I'm sure you'd love North Korea, Sweden, England, and Finland! They have such great dental care over there (sarcasm intended)! Their healthcare administrators are no doubt the same government types that run their DMV offices...I'm sure you'd love it. Please leave...thanks.

kelly

ejj, I thought you sharper than the "love it or leave it" argument, which was/is wrong. The Vietnam War was WRONG, which the US government had the sense to ADMIT by granting full pardons to all who skipped the government madness.

"Kinda hard to argue against no attacks on US soil since 9/11!" How about the prior decades without 9/11.

First, Bush I lied and left US troops on Arab soil for years.

Then, a illegitimate, fewer votes 'brother's chads/boy president' Bush II is so 'asleep at the wheel' that he skipped security briefings while squads of Saudis trained at US commercial pilot schools for months.

SIRRRPRIZE - 9/11 and the 350 page "Patriot Act" passes in the depths of night the next month, like the $700,000,000,000 bailout the next Bush term.

ejj, do you understand that's $2,300 from EACH American, $9,200 tax dollars taken from a family of four?

Plenty of debt/high speed rail funds in that RICH giveaway.

The Decider "lost" 365 PALLETS of $100 bills - $12 billion - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/08/usa.iraq1

Yet some stumble about like children screaming "the black guy's 2010 budget bankrupted America".

If Bush leaves the US, HE will be charged with WAR CRIMES in the free world. The WATER BOARDING he proudly admitted to in his book is torture, TOTALLY against international law America signed.

Torture is also against the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution - "no cruel and unusual punishment".

But Americans, with their e-mail, phones, bank accounts, etc. being illegally spied on(no warrant-less 'search and seizure'(4th Amendment) by federal agencies, thanks to the "Patriot Act" - are too afraid to file charges.

fred

Look how things run amok with just a little tweak. GW got "elected" by what majority? WIs new govner got elected in part by running against an ill-planned and unneeded 77-mile HSR line from Madison to Milwaukee. And now the state looks like its ready to go chaos with this dbag.

No doubt this country could use more Realistic Speed Rail but it aint going to happen until $4&5 fuel is the norm AND we start collecting MORE THAN 18c (24 diesel) a gallon in fuel taxes. And keep your commie mitts off my ethanol subsidy.

ejj

Wisconsin's Governor is part of the mature adult group... the teachers: the spoiled little brat children. How pathetic that the unions would sooner destroy the state than simply pay a little for their health insurance premiums LIKE FEDERAL WORKERS DO!!!!! America is watching this disgusting display in Wisconsin and the voters will remember the behavior of these lowlifes. It is truly shameful and disgusting.

ai_vin

Wisconsin's Governor is the problem, not the unions. That state had a $121 million budget surplus before he got to it. Notice how the only "unions" he's going after are the ones that didn't support him during the election?

kelly

Every summer, Oshkosh, Wisconsin holds the world's largest airshow: http://www.airventure.org/

I have often admired the incredible hospitality and efficiency at Airventure and any event this size must have some state regulation.

"In February 2011, he stated he wanted to end collective bargaining for nearly all public employees." - Wiki. With such a goal, one can generally sense this one month governor's position with big business, the people's wellbeing, or other things, like the Emancipation Proclamation.

One should honestly hope this man does not harm the good people of Wisconsin or it's visitors.

ejj

Uhhh what did Obama say shortly after he got elected? "I won"..."elections have consequences". The people of Wisconsin voted in Walker along with a majority of republicans in their state house. Perhaps the rest of the voters of Wisconsin (the ones we're not seeing protesting like a bunch of little pathetic spoiled crybabies (see "You're Cut Off" on MTV) with BETTER BENEFITS THAN FEDERAL WORKERS) know more than we do about the political and business climate of their state, which is why they voted in all these republicans in the first place?

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