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This morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R-Medicare Fraud) announced that he is rejecting $2.4 billion in federal funds to build the first leg of a high-speed rail network from Tampa to Orlando.

When the Tea Party-backed governors of Wisconsin and Ohio turned down federal funds for their own high-speed rail projects, that money went to other states (including, ironically, Florida).

But Florida has a slim hope of avoiding that fate, thanks to our remaining Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson. Details below the fold.

"Can you imagine if a governor had tried to kill the proposal by Dwight Eisenhower years ago when he set up the interstate highway system?  That is what we are facing today."

That was Sen. Nelson in his response to the news this morning that Gov. Scott had turned down the rail money, as reported by WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando.

Calling the decision to refuse the money "egregious," Nelson said he was working with lawyers in the U.S. Department of Transportation to see if there is a way for the money to be brought to Florida despite Gov. Scott's objections.

The Hill has Nelson saying that one option might to funnel the money through Florida's High-Speed Rail Authority, an entity established by Florida Law.

Of course, Gov. Scott could try to prevail upon the legislature to squash that idea by disbanding the authority, a move which seems likely to me given that since Scott believes he has succeeded in killing the high-speed rail project, there's no need for an agency to oversee it. However, he might encounter resistance, even in a Republican-dominated legislature, since the high-speed rail project has Republican support both at the state and federal level. And with there already being resistance to his draconian budget, this may be a fight he doesn't want to pick.

Another option, according to both the WFTV article and The Hill, would be to disburse the funds to the cities along the route. This option would probably win support from U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Orlando), a strong supporter of the fast train who tried to prevail (apparently without success) upon Gov. Scott to reconsider his decision.

At stake for Floridians is the $66 million already spent by supporters of the project, as well as an estimated 24,000 jobs, as well as a state-of-the-art transportation system which would benefit both our business community and tourism industry.

The teabaggers are already organizing to thwart Nelson. A post on the Patriot Action Network blog went up this afternoon urging readers to contact Nelson and tell him to "get his nose out of high-speed rail."

So I'm urging all Kossacks (in and out of Florida) to contact Nelson and support his efforts -- my guess is we outnumber the teabaggers. You can send Sen. Nelson an e-mail here, or, if you prefer, call his Florida office toll-free (from within Florida) at 1-888-671-4091 or his Washington, D.C. office at 1-202-224-5274.

Originally posted to ObamOcala on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 05:43 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Florida.


Do you support High-Speed Rail in Florida?

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Comment Preferences

  •  If the federal monies are routed... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donnamarie, ObamOcala

    ...through Florida's High-Speed Rail Authority, would they lose control at that point as to how the money would be spent?  Or would Florida still be obligated to spend it on high speed rail?

    This can't be happening.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 06:08:51 PM PST

  •  I'd rather the money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, ParkRanger

    go to California.  We have a good HSR route (SF-LA) that could use the funding.

  •  Re-published to DKos Florida (7+ / 0-)

    Seems quite relevant.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

    by Inspector Javert on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 06:43:14 PM PST

  •  that is good news (7+ / 0-)

    I'll be contacting Bill Nelson's office in the morning.

    I had a meeting yesterday in Orlando and one of the participants had to drive in from Tampa.  He said every time he has to come here he loses half a day's productivity.  If we had HSR, he could be working while he traveled, instead of looking at brake lights on I-4.

    The projected jobs this would create exposes (for the umpteenth time) Scott for the liar he is.  If he wanted to create jobs, he'd jump on this.  He just hasn't found a way to make money off it, apparently, so it must go by the wayside.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 06:55:36 PM PST

  •  Once again the GOP shows its idiocy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, elfling, thomask

    The GOP wingnuts are absolutely determined to oppose anything that the Obama administration is doing to help states, municipalities, and the working people, to hell with creating jobs.  They only want to help the wealthiest people rape the working classes.  I feel bad for the responsible people of the state of Florida.

    But since Gov. Scott is going to reject the HSR money, maybe we citizens of Illinois can get that money instead.  Let's build another HSR route from Chicago to Dubuque, IA.  I know my hometown (Rockford) would love to have a station along the way, and we could sincerely use the jobs it would create.

  •  Election issue? (0+ / 0-)

    Nelson's going to need some successes and issues to run on. My concern here is what happens to the project without state funding?

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 08:36:34 PM PST

  •  So sorry that FL (0+ / 0-)

    has a governor who doesn't believe in government. He  said :

    Government has no resources of its own. Government can only give to us what it has previously taken from us.

    Hope Nelson can succeed in his plan to get the funds!

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:10:52 PM PST

  •  Gov. Scott (and I could quote) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "If it weren't for no jobs, we'd have no jobs at all."

    An expression of both his colossal short-sightedness and stupendous stupidity, that is an effort to gain points with Teabaggers and become a two-termer.

    This crook has no interest in the best interests of the state.
    The benefits from HSR projects are immediate, long-term, and ultra long-term.

    I'd like to say, "I predict. . . " he'll be indicted on corruption charges before his second year in office is over.  But stating a sure thing isn't a prediction.

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Wed Feb 16, 2011 at 10:24:14 PM PST

  •  WA/OR got some of the money too. (0+ / 0-)

    I believe it was $181 million additional dollars that we picked up for our high speed corridor between Eugene OR and Vancouver BC.  I just read that OR has bought 2 additional train sets and at least one will go into operation this summer.  The states own the equipment in what is called the Cascades Corridor, the trains which are called the Cascadian are composed of Talgo tilt cars.  (The cars lean into the curves like a motor cycle so they can go much faster on regular rails than normal train cars.)

    With the new addition we will have 10 trains a day through Olympia where I live.  To ride the train you have to get a reserved ticket.  They run that full every day.  

    The current top speed is 80 MPH because that is the limit for the road that the trains run on although they are capable of speeds around 150 MPH.  We are slowly chipping away at raising the speed and reducing slow downs but have a long way to go.  The riders are already there.  All we need is the money to keep growing and improving.  Eventually we can hook up with the CA trains and run high speed all the way to LA.  And eventually we will need to electrify the system as well.  

    If the other fools don't want it, we have our begging bowl set out beside the tracks and will gladly accept another scoop of dough.  

    PPS- No waiting in lines.  No arriving two hours early.  No body scanning.  Have a glass of wine or a beer, read a book or watch a movie.  Walk around and talk to people and use the potty anytime you like.   Get 150 MPG per person mile and save some CO2.  

    Ride Amtrak.  It's cheaper and faster than driving and will get you to from Seattle to Portland faster than you can get though the lines to take the shuttle at the airport.

    Oh and the train stations are down town not out in the boon docks.  You can get right on light rail or a city bus and continue to anywhere in the city without an expensive cab ride.  Cool huh?

    PPS-Lead follow or get out of the way.  Washington and Oregon are leading the way.  

    DK-3 it's been good to know you.

    by YellerDog on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 12:51:05 AM PST

    •  It's exactly what we need in FL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But our teabagger politicians are too short-sighted, and no we have the King of the Teabaggers as our Gov.

      I hope Nelson can pull this off. Richard Branson has joined the private consortium seeking to get the project up and running... I'm hoping he can fill in the funding gap.

      I'll admit I'm concerned this diary hasn't gotten much attention yet. Don't care about the mojo, but I do want Nelson to hear strong support from the progressive community on this.

      •  It's gotten 98 views (0+ / 0-)

        Our group has 60+ followers so maybe it'll get more views in the morning.

        "make sure to put me back in the bed! I don't want to be on the ceiling!"

        by donnamarie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 04:15:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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