In a move that has many shaking their heads in disbelief, Florida's newly elected Governor Rick Scott is refusing to accept $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money in an attempt to kill a long-desired high speed rail project that the funds were meant to kick start. Florida Senator Bill Nelson is not ready to give up on a project that has already seen several hundreds of millions of dollars already invested in preparations and is in talks with Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to find a way to keep the project alive.
Floridians knew Scott wasn't enthusiastic about the project and, doubting previously completed studies, had said he would order his own ridership study. Apparently, that's one promise that will go unfulfilled. He's also stated that the project would likely go over budget, but the companies lined up to build and operate the system over the next thirty years have said they would cover any overruns.
The project, if it makes it through this impasse, could provide as many as 24,000 jobs and begin with a line between Tampa and Orlando. Later additions could link up with Miami and possibly Jacksonville. For more reaction on the Scott decision, check out the High Speed Rail Association's website.
[Source: WOKV.com / High Speed Rail Association]