The Florida state Supreme Court released its response to a lawsuit filed eariler in the week alleging Governor Rick Scott exceeded his authority in rejecting high speed rail money. The ruling states:

 The Court has reviewed the petition, response, and reply, has heard oral argument, and has considered the factual allegations and legal arguments. Based on the limited record before the Court and a review of the federal and state law relied on by the parties, the Court has determined that the petitioners have not clearly demonstrated entitlement to …. relief. Accordingly, the emergency petition is hereby denied.

Too bad.  Ray LaHood quickly responded by saying “I know that states across America are enthusiastic about receiving additional support to help bring America’s high-speed rail network to life and deliver all its economic benefits to their citizens.” No kidding.

Earlier in the day governor Rick Scott used ongoing state funding of Tri-Rail as an example of why HSR would leave the state on the hook for ongoing mantinenance of the system once built. Kudos to Politifact for calling bullshit on this one.  

If Scott were on a crusade to end public subsidies for all forms of transportation, that would be one thing. Transportation systems —including roads, buses, ports and trains — more than not require government help.

But Scott is trying to isolate the problem to trains when citing Tri-Rail’s revenue problems as a reason for nixing high-speed rail in Florida. It may be a convenient talking point, but the two systems are hardly alike. In the end, high-speed fail might fail and the projections for ridership might be too rosy. But people shouldn’t use Tri-Rail as evidence any more than they should cite any other form of mass transit. We rate this claim Barely True.

Well said.

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8 Responses to High Speed Rail Update: Florida Supreme Court Sides with Scott

  1. Brody says:

    I hate Scott. Any chance he’ll drop dead soon? Gosh, what a waste, such a shame.

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  2. some other great lines from the politifact article you laud
    “legislators and the Florida Department of Transportation said private contractors would be required to pay for any high-speed rail construction cost overruns”

    this would certainly be an important part of any contract the government might sign with private companies. I wonder how that works in practice, he doesn’t mention any examples. Some government projects about which I’m aware that are under budget and ahead of schedule are often examples of quite pathetic expectations. I think of the second Overtown Village.

    “Governments and transportation experts…knew [tri-rail] would be subsidized by taxpayers.”

    But as he admits, they expected that subsidy to amount to about 25% of operating costs, not over 70%.

    “Compare that to the Tampa-Orlando line, where experts say there will be no public government subsidy.”
    As he demonstrated earlier, these experts predictions are actually quite inaccurate, and shouldn’t be trusted on face. But his loyalty lies with high speed rail, despite having any evidence whatsoever to demonstrate an overall benefit to the community.

    “So to recap, Tri-Rail was created with the idea it would be subsidized; high-speed rail is being proposed as a system that won’t need government support.” Wow, when you put it like that, no wonder some people think it’s a good idea. I question how honest his claims are given how they seem to contradict each other.

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  3. Tony Garcia says:

    Good points Prem…

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  4. Mike Moskos says:

    The Sun post reported that Scott directed the FDOT to fund $77 million for dredging for the Port of Miami (after the Feds backed out). It is somewhat ironic that he’s eager to make Florida’s poor pay for the dredging-admittedly a potentially worthwhile project-when it should be paid by port users. So, Scott is not opposed to the market distortions government subsidies bring; he’s just opposed to certain types of subsidies.

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  5. Mike,
    I think it’s a common double standard among republicans to support federal highway but not regional transit.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Right on Mike.

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  7. Oslo says:

    I think the big difference is that the port project is about freight, the HSR is commuter rail.

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  8. TransitDave says:

    Actually, In finding the $$$ for the Port of Miami dredging project versus HSR, Guv Scott, as a businessman is making a call about which one will have the best chance of return on the investment in the form of increased commerce and jobs, and a minimum of unintended consquences, such as ongoing operation and maintenance expenses, cost over-run guarantees, bankruptcy of the private half of public / private partnerships, etc…It’s called prioritizing, which seems to be a lost art in government……..I for one am glad to see it returning…Brody, your comments remind me of a spoiled kid talking about the father who just grounded him……..Grow up already

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