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Florida kills Obama-backed high-speed rail

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:01 EDT
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MIAMI — Florida’s governor on Wednesday killed an ambitious plan for the country’s first high-speed railway, a project heralded by the White House as important to restoring US competitiveness and economic growth.

Governor Rick Scott cited the burden to the state of potential cost overruns and expected subsidies in rejecting the $2.7 billion, 135-kilometer (84-mile) track link between Tampa and Orlando.

“After thoughtful consideration, Governor Rick Scott informed US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood of the state’s decision to reject President (Barack) Obama’s Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail project,” Scott’s office said in a statement.

Scott was the third Republican governor to block a major high-speed rail project in the past three months by rejecting federal supporting funds, crucial to get plans off the ground.

Newly elected governors in Ohio and Wisconsin also canceled rail projects already agreed by their Democratic predecessors, saying the states could not afford the projects.

Scott’s announcement came just two days after Obama released a proposed fiscal 2012 budget that highlighted the need to spend billions to develop high-speed railways in key corridors to sustain the country’s economic recovery and boost the competitiveness of the country’s infrastructure.

Republicans assailed the huge deficit in Obama’s budget, and Scott’s announcement attacked the White House for spending too much.

“The president?s budget includes $1.6 trillion in higher taxes,” he said.

“Those higher taxes will impact Floridians and our competitiveness worldwide. We cannot expect individuals to build businesses in America if our taxes are higher than other countries,” he said.

The Florida move was the first concrete response to the White House announcement early this month of its $53 billion, six-year program to foster high-speed rail in key urban corridors.

Obama has said he wants to make high-speed rail available to 80 percent of Americans.

On Wednesday the White House called Florida’s move “an unfortunate decision” and insisted that it would continue pushing infrastructure modernization.

“There’s been a lot of bipartisan support for the need to create the kind of modern infrastructure in this country that will enable us to compete. High-speed rail is very much a part of that,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

“We will, you know, make sure that that money is used elsewhere to advance the infrastructure and innovation agenda that is essential for economic growth,” he said.

Transportation Secretary LaHood said the administration was “extremely disappointed” by Scott’s move.

“We worked with the governor to make sure we eliminated all financial risk for the state, instead requiring private businesses competing for the project to assume cost overruns and operating expenses,” he said in a statement.

“This project could have supported thousands of good-paying jobs for Floridians and helped grow Florida businesses, all while alleviating congestion on Florida’s highways.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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  • Anonymous

    I don’t get what the problem with high speed rail is? Do the oil companies control that much that this is a threat to their profits? Too bad the GOP is so short sighted.

  • Anonymous

    Very short sighted.

  • Anonymous

    Very short sighted. What country is backwards now?

  • Anonymous

    I guess they can widen I-4, and when they run out of room — they can double-deck it. That makes a lot more sense than a straight-shot high-speed rail corridor over mostly flat terrain.

  • Anonymous

    It’s rick scott, he’s a crook.

  • Anon 7777

    The war is costing us $720,000,000.00 (million) a day. Can someone alert the hypocrisy police please?

  • Anonymous

    High speed rail constitutes PROgress and these people aren’t PRO anything except getting Obama and Democrats out of office. TO HELL with anything that will actually help the average American. If there were some big business backing this we might see it happen. Otherwise, HELL NO.

  • christoofar

    There! Guess he showed THEM, huh?

  • Anonymous

    HAHAHAHAHA competitiveness worldwide,,, HAHAHA Too Funny. What is Florida competitive at? Social Security recipients

  • Anonymous

    I love the idea of high-speed rail (I live in NYC and my car is parked 95% of the time), but Tampa to Orlando? Who cares? Have any of you ever driven between Tampa and Orlando? If you’ve ever made that drive and haven’t wanted to kill yourself by the time you were done, then you deserve to live there. The entire state is just a complete hell-hole. I don’t even consider it to be part of the United States–it’s just a disgusting, strip-mall-laden third-world dump. In conclusion, I say we just let the creatures who live between Tampa and Orlando do whatever it is they do, and get around however it is they get around, as long as we don’t have to have contact with them ever again….

  • Anon 7777

    The system is corrupt to the core and the only ones that excel in that environment are those that are the most corrupt. Plain and simple.

  • Ma’at

    LOL WTG Baggers. The jobs lost in your state are going to be monumental. LOVE watcching Baggers suffer.

  • Ma’at

    The ONLY problem for Baggers is Obama wants it. That’s it.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/BATQTRSD53GBBRKC2ZELNTTE5I Hardy

    Would the Gov take the train from Bush??? Obama should just build the train as a federal jobs program like the WPA.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IREWQWVKV7C4QC2FB5ZU45VD6M George

    What a jerk Rick Scott is keeping his state in the swamp. California’s and New York’s benefit for the stupidity of Floridians electing this jerk Rick Scott Thank you Florida for electing a criminal as your governor and all the crap that comes with Scott. Florida, Ohio, New Jersey electing individuals who will damage their state to no limit. Republican’s fought infrastructure during the Great Depression and just did not want this nation to move forward. Just think if Obama wanted to build the Golden Gate Bridge or the Bay Bridge? The Republicans would call it a waste of money and denounce the building of these two great structures which are a testament to the strength and resilience of the American people during the Great Depression. Thanks to the people of California who were farsighted to see future, as they are now with the bullet train, while the shortsighted Republicans look backwards. Two years of this crap we will have to fight Republican fanatics.

  • Anonymous

    Republicans are notoriously anti-transit. The idea of people riding with other people that they don’t know is foreign to them, except when absolutely necessary, as in air travel. They’d rather take 3 times as long to get to their destination than to share a vehicle with the riff-raff.

  • Guest

    Of course they are against high-speed rail. HSR represents PROGRESS.
    Teabaggerz are not progressive people.

    In fact, if Conservatives had there way, we would still be without COSTLY sewers.

    Don’t believe me?? This article may be over 150 years old, but the policies still are the same.

    ‘NO. NO. NO.’

    http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/%7Eucessjb/Halliday%201999.pdf

  • Anonymous

    Where are the jobs?

    Ask Gov. Rick ‘Job Killer’ Scott; I think he might know.

  • Anonymous

    Dumb but happy, Florida???

  • Anonymous

    How much proof that the Teabaggers are dangerous for America do we need.

  • Anonymous

    Dontcha know that economic recovery would mean that Dems/Progressives would have a real chance of winning the next election?

  • RottenJohnny

    “After thoughtful consideration, Governor Rick Scott . . .

    Now there’s an oxymoron if I ever read one. Heavy on the moron.

  • Anonymous

    So bypass Florida and expand elsewhere. There are plenty of parts of the country that would welcome hi-speed rail and could benefit from the federal dollars putting people to work. Let the south dwaddle in the last century. Many of them want to secede anyway and oppose all progress. Let them cut off the tops of their mountains, pollute their water, deny climate change, fill the air with toxins, home school their kids right out futher employment, cut all social programs for the health and well being of their population and soon the folks with brains will flee and what’s left will begin the process of extinction. It will be a race between killing themselves with toxins and lack of available care and the coming of the rapture.

  • Guest

    The hypocrisy police are owned by the government. Sorry.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6VIII2XPU4HUPLANTLEJGSYN7A jARED

    I bet a high-speed train touched him improperly when he was an adolescent? Too soon?

  • Anonymous

    Hey President Obama…Washington state will take it…! We are not old or stupid up here.. we want/need jobs!!! Not to mention the ability to travel better, faster and cheaper..ever sit in a traffic jam in Tacoma/Seattle…?
    Rick Scott was (only) fined how much , 1.7 Billion (?) with no jail time, for the largest medicare fraud in U.S. history (and Scott master-minded the town hall tea-bagger attacks on Democrats during the Health Care battle…(wanted to keep his ill-gotten gains?)….hang on to your social security checks..you old tea-bagger fools in Florida..(Rick Scott was the best you could come up with in Florida…? And now he wanting to go after the Unions just like Walker is in WI…..Amazing how stupid FOX viewers are) Good luck down there in Florida…………….

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    Most of the houses have wheels on them and family reunions are where you go to find a spouse. Hell, what can you expect from a state thats cultural icon is a pink plastic Flamingo, anyway.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PCHLMPBJKYTW3LJBHZEZMO3TXQ What Ever

    Kinda like “military intelligence.”

  • Anonymous

    Show me the money!! Your country is broke. How can you build high speed rail without any money. Borrow more the Chinese?

  • Guest

    Regardless of party affiliation Florida sucks, I think we can all agree on that.

    I wish Obama would form a bi-partisan committee to decree the above.

  • Guest

    If would be tea-baggers had gotten their way we would not even have a Brooklyn bridge.

    We would still be fording rivers and driving on two-track dirt highways.

    BUILDING STUFF KILLS JOBS!!

  • Anonymous

    If President ASSHOLE would stop wasting money on Iraq, Afghanistan, and handing our money to other countries in foreign aid, I might be inclined to support his sorry ass, but until he stops that bullshit I’m agin’ ‘im!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZFLRAHBAYAJO53ZAESS5Z5FOPE Jennifer

    More money for New York State!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LF5FXUFQAJKIIUDODVKO3SRXGM Gerry C

    You folks just don’t get it. I lived in Floriday for several years, had to mingle with the small town crowd, and it is one of the most prejudiced states in the union. The fact that Obama and the Democrats are behind the project is all those rednecks need to say “Hell no!” They don’t give a damn about the jobs it will bring. The Republicans know this. It’s not about jobs. It’s about a black man in the White House.

  • Anonymous

    Except for New York City.

    EVERYONE takes public transit in NYC. You see some pretty well dressed people on the Lex Ave express in the morning. At rush hour there simply is no other choice.

    Why do we neglect NYC so much?

    The biggest passenger train station on the whole planet is in NYC, Penn Station. The building is bursting at the seams, they have had to make many architectural modifications to the building over the years to handle the increased demand. Another of the largest passengers train station on the planet is about four blocks away, Grand Central Station. You know that beautiful lobby? A Million people walk through that lobby EVERY DAY. We have a staggeringly huge public transportation system in this country already. All we need to do is nurture and grow it.

  • Anonymous

    Just think, by the time they are done, gas will be $7.00 a gallon and nobody will want to drive anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/MrEthiopian ed smith

    Wait till the next time Republicans are running the country, then they will start the quest for a super rails system and say they invented it.

  • Anonymous

    I take it you were OK with Bush for spending all that money, lying us into those wars.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t wait for one year from now when about 20 repuke governors get recalled for all the shit they are pulling.
    They would sooner see the whole country be destroyed than to have a black man in the WH.

  • Anonymous

    actually this has been reversed. The Florida legislature in a non-veto action has told the Fed that they will take the money and they have bypassed the tea party brain-dead Gov.

  • maritimer

    Florida, why did you elect a known crook? Medicare fraud, much? And this guy cares about your taxes? Yeah, sure he does.
    You get the government you deserve. Enjoy the slide into third-world-dom, Florida.

  • maritimer

    They want to take the country back- to the stone age.

  • maritimer

    I heard that same argument about the light rail project in Norfolk, VA. “It goes nowhere” etc. But here’s the thing you need to consider: Once one leg is built, you can add to it. The next leg can run the length of I-95 and connect all those towns and that would be a boon to both residents and tourists. At any rate, turning down funding for a rail line is insane. It takes years to negotiate the right-of-ways and plan the route before ground is even broken. Will it get easier 10 years down the road, when the country is even more in debt?

  • maritimer

    It used to not suck. I have lived there off and on for military service and other work. I am really sad to see the way it is today. Infrastructure improvements would help- with good paying jobs and easier commutes. I wish Floridians would wake up and stop the destruction these baggers and their ilk are inflicting on them.

  • Anonymous

    I take it you’re an asshole for even suggesting I supported dipshit Bush!

  • Anonymous

    A majority of voters were against light rail in Denver in the early 90s. The mayor and others went ahead and got it done based on their belief that it was the best solution to handle Denver’s growth needs. Today, light rail is a smashing success, heavily used, and liked by almost everyone. Back in the day, common objections were; everybody likes driving and nobody will ride the train, it’s too expensive, too inconvient, etc. Of course those who against light rail had never lived in a big city and therefore had little understanding of the benefits. Probably the same thing here, too many voters with little to no train experience, combined with greedy politicans being paid to say no by big oil. Before you know it, gas will be $7.00 per gallon and these same idiots will be screaming why don’t we have highspeed rail. Lastly, highspeed rail is much faster and cheaper than flying for 200 to 400 mile trips(when including getting to the airport 2 hours before flight time).

  • piltdown

    No, teabaggers typically hate public transportation of any type. They insist on every family being required to own two cars and drive on toll-roads everywhere.

  • piltdown

    And the government is owned by the military industrial and oil industries.

    Follow the money. It goes further than some shady “government” wallet. It goes much further.

  • piltdown

    They’ll start to come back when our wages “trickle-down” to the levels of the workers in China and India.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t think of any state that wouldn’t benefit from high speed passenger rail, with perhaps the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. We need to think of high speed rail as the new inter/intra state transportation line. can be run on electricity powered by solar and wind or nuclear power. think of the millions of pounds of CO2 not pumped into the air by drivers having an alternative to automobiles. I’d take the train any day as opposed to driving in congested traffic. China is creating an amazing high speed rail that uses tracks along their highway system. The trains actually pass over auto traffic. We so need to be looking to alternatives and think forward, not backward as a nation.

  • Anonymous

    love the irony. thanks!

  • piltdown

    I’m sure there would be plenty of free-market cab drivers who were willing to charge them “what the market will bear”. I’m sure an industry that charges to move people per 1/8th of a mile would have many cost savings for these self-supporting bootstrap-grabbers.

  • Anonymous

    great comment

  • Anonymous

    GOOD!!!

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