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Florida Gov Rejects High Speed Rail Funds; ‘Too Costly to Taxpayers’

By Doug Powers  •  February 16, 2011 11:24 AM

**Written by Doug Powers


Florida’s governor is as uneasy as many Americans about getting on board with the “conductor of the train to the future” for a fast ride to economic disaster.

Gov. Rick Scott’s “thanks, but no thanks” press release by way of The Florida Independent:

Moments ago I spoke with u.s. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to inform him of my decision. I appreciate the secretary’s efforts to work with us and I look forward to working with him in the future.

My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

•First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

•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.

That sound you hear is other governors clamoring for Florida’s share of the federal cash, but hopefully some stand their ground and understand that they’re merely drowning states being thrown hugely expensive anvils.

Scamtrak background:

A History Lesson for Biden

The folly of high-speed rail, redux; Plus: Did Obama consult J-Nap on “no pat-down” promise?

Obama Transportation Sec’y Ray LaHood’s high-speed rail slush fund

Harry Reid’s stimulating rail to Vegas

High-speed rail to nowhere

(h/t Free Republic)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: Enviro-nitwits, fiscal stimulus, Politics