The Obama administration was set to spend $2.4 billion to build a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando in a project that would have created thousands of jobs, but Governor Rick Scott has drowned the plan in a big pot of ideological tea killing all those jobs with it. Now, some other state will receive the jobs, funding and brand new state-of-the-art infrastructure.
America has lagged behind other parts of the world in the development of high-speed railways, and the line between Orlando and Tampa was planned to be the first initiative in President Obama's plan to introduce the transportation system across the country. The line was eventually supposed to be extended to connect Miami to Orlando.
High-speed rail helps to reduce traffic on interstates and reduces gas consumption. In many cases it also spurs other development.
The state of Florida wouldn't have had to spend a penny on the rail, as the construction would have come out of stimulus funds. Though, Scott apparently wasn't down with the idea.
"Put simply, the proposed high-speed rail line is far too uncertain and offers far too little long-term benefit for me to consider moving forward," Scott wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican.
In further remarks Scott clearly put his decision in ideological terms.
"The answer is to reduce government spending, cut government's leash on our state's job creators and then hold government accountable for the investments it makes," Scott said.
Yet, it's unlikely a private company will ever introduce high-speed rail to Florida. Many saw the initiative as equivalent to Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's initiative to fund the interstate highway system in the '50s.
"If Florida would've had a governor who rejected President Eisenhower's idea, we wouldn't have an interstate system," tweeted Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.
"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," LaHood said in a statement.
"Nevertheless, there is overwhelming demand for high-speed rail in other states that are enthusiastic to receive Florida's and the economic benefits it can deliver, such as manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as private development along its corridors."
Scott mentioned other infrastructure projects he would have liked to have seen the money go to, but he seems to have a juvenile understanding on how the federal budget works. Because Florida has now declined the $2.4 billion, it will be used to fund high-speed rails and create jobs in other states.
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