Florida Scraps High-Speed Rail Pushed by Obama

Rick Scott cancels plans for Orlando-Tampa train
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2011 9:43 PM CST
Florida Scraps High-Speed Rail Pushed by Obama
Gov. Rick Scott says no thanks.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott canceled plans for a high-speed train line between Orlando and Tampa promoted by President Barack Obama, saying today it would cost the state too much even with $2.4 billion in federal help. High-speed rail is one of Obama's priorities, and his latest budget proposal calls for $53 billion over the next six years for projects across the country. Florida also stood to benefit when Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin rejected high-speed rail projects. The Obama administration committed another $342 million to Florida from the money that would have gone to those states.

Cost overruns could put Florida on the hook for another $3 billion and once completed, there's a good chance ridership won't pay for the operating cost, meaning the state would have to pump more money into the line each year, Scott said in a press release issued after he informed US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood of his decision. LaHood later released a statement contradicting Scott's assessment of the risk, and said he was disappointed, but said other states would be happy to get Florida's money. LaHood met with members of Florida congressional delegation today and was encouraged to find a way to go ahead with the project without Scott's support, he said. Click for more. (More Rick Scott stories.)

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