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Florida Governor Rick Scott Rejects Federal High-Speed Rail Plan (UPDATED)

Good news from Florida.

11:27 AM, Feb 16, 2011 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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  Second – 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) – Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

  Finally – 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 D.C.

The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits. 

The Obama administration’s new budget proposes an additional $53 billion for high-speed rail, one of the administration’s keys to “winning the future.” In his State of the Union, Obama pledged to make high-speed rail available to 80 percent of Americans in the next 25 years. Some experts are skeptical that this goal is achievable at all. "You're talking there about a trillion dollars," says the Reason Foundation's Poole. "There's no conceivable funding source for a system of that scale."

The history of cost overruns and funding shortfalls was a major factor in Scott's decision.

“Let us never forget, whether it is Washington or Tallahassee, government has no resources of its own. Government can only give to us what it has previously taken from us.”

UPDATE: Transportation secretary Ray LaHood just released the following statement in response to Governor Scott's decision to reject federal funds for high-speed rail:

“We are extremely disappointed by Governor Rick Scott’s decision to walk away from the job creating and economic development benefits of high speed rail in Florida. 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. It is projects like these that will help America out-build our global competitors and lay the foundation needed to win the future. 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. Nevertheless, there is overwhelming demand for high speed rail in other states that are enthusiastic to receive Florida’s funding and the economic benefits it can deliver, such as manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as private development along its corridors.”

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