Florida's Loss: Rick Scott's High-Speed Rail Shootdown

westseiler1.jpg
Art Seitz
Wild Art: Congressman Allen West joins a motley collection of local politicians (including fellow Republican Chip LaMarca, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Charlotte Rodstrom, and Romney Rogers) in Fort Lauderdale for yesterday's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Photo by Art Seitz)  

The New York Times reports this weekend on Gov. Rick Scott's rejection of the bullet train. Here are highlights of the article:

railspeed.jpg
Buh-bye
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The nation's first true high-speed railroad was supposed to leave the station in 2015, a sleek Tomorrowland-worthy train that would have whisked riders between Orlando and Tampa at speeds of up to 168 miles an hour.

The federal government had agreed to pay $2.4 billion of its estimated $2.6 billion in construction costs, railroad companies were vying to build and operate it, and state transportation planners had even dummied up proposed timetables: Train 7092 would depart Tampa at 8:10 a.m. and arrive in Orlando at 9:04 a.m.

The fast train was sought, and won, by Florida's former Republican governor, Charlie Crist. But it was killed last month by his successor, Rick Scott, who joined several other Republican governors in spurning federally financed train projects over fears that

their states could be on the hook for future costs. The final nail in its coffin came last week when a Florida court ruled that the new governor could not be forced to accept the federal money and start building it.

The demise of the Florida line is different, though. It will delay the country's first bullet train ride by years, if not longer, and deprive the Obama administration of what it had hoped would be a showpiece that would sell the rest of the nation on high-speed rail.

The administration said Friday that it would give Florida's $2.4 billion to rail projects elsewhere and invited other states to apply for the money...

Then things began to fall apart. As the 2010 midterm elections heated up, Republicans began running against the federal largess states have traditionally sought.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, killed a long-planned commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River. Scott Walker, the new Republican governor of Wisconsin, killed a new conventional passenger train line that was to be built between Milwaukee and Madison, and paid for with $810 million in federal stimulus money. The new governor of Ohio, John R. Kasich, killed a $400 million federally financed line that would have linked Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. When President Obama called for expanding the nation's rail program in this year's State of the Union address, Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page to denounce it as "a bullet train to bankruptcy."

With Florida's new governor, Mr. Scott, expressing reservations about the plan, the Obama administration moved quickly to award $342 million of the forfeited money from the Midwest to Florida. That brought the federal commitment to Florida to roughly $2.4 billion, almost enough to cover the projected $2.6 billion cost.

But the backlash was strong in Florida. In his race for the United States Senate last year, Mr. Crist found his success at winning stimulus money for Florida turned into a liability. Conservatives, and a newly powerful Tea Party movement, saw the federal spending as a problem, not as a solution to the state's high unemployment rate. Mr. Crist ended up leaving the Republican Party and running, unsuccessfully, as an independent.

Last month, Mr. Scott decided to scuttle the project after reading a report by the Reason Foundation that questioned its ridership estimates. The foundation is a prominent libertarian policy research organization that employs several respected transportation analysts, but it gets some of its funding from donors with ties to the oil industry, including foundations related to Koch Industries, which owns oil refineries.

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

But a state-sponsored ridership study, which was released this week, concluded that the proposed line would actually have been a money-maker from the start. 

Obama administration officials are still pushing ahead with their goal of winning a $53 billion commitment to railroads over the next six years, and say that other states are clamoring for the money rejected by Florida.

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Click here for full article.


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55 comments
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Diver Mon
Diver Mon

QUOTE: "Train 7092 would depart Tampa at 8:10 a.m. and arrive in Orlando at 9:04 a.m. "

from google:I-4 E 92.4 mi 1 hour 38 mins (airport to airport)

so if you took a train it would save you a total of: 44 min? (this is OF COURSE not counting the time to park at one station, wait for the trail, and catch a cab on the other end).so if it takes 15 min to park and catch the train and another 10 min on the other end to catch a ride (both agressive times), you'd save a total of 19min...

at what cost?

(no mention of the cost per ticket?)

would a family of 4 pay $25 per ticket to do this? (round trip that's $200 bucks) to save a total of 40min?

- who would do this? thats my question... how many would pay $50 round trip (and pay a cab on the other end).

Httpwww3132011
Httpwww3132011

So yea, about this train in Florida... I have a few questions...

Who is going to drive their car from their home to a train station so they can be transported from Tampa to Orlando, only to pay for parking while their train travels (I guess the other option is a cab [with fluctuations in fares due to gas prices])?

When that person arrives 1 hour away, they will have to get a costly cab - or - ride a public bus to their destination. The cab will cost $, and the bus will have to be caught at a certain time.

....Practical? I think not. I guess this explains why entrepreneurs haven't built this train yet.

So why should Florida have to be on the hook for the cost, and what happens if FL is?

Billions of dollars will be forced out of local budgets, creating state-wide layoffs, in order for the money to be paid back to the Federal Government.

Bernard
Bernard

People do not look at the real cost, when ever as a government project came in on budget, if is runs 20% over thats 500 Million DollarsPlus name a passager rail line in the USA thats makes money

IrvingFeiner
IrvingFeiner

They sure dont make republicans like they used to. Eisenhauer brought us the interstate highway system - like that hasn't help make the US great.

Scott and the teabaggers? Bubkus

Oh well, I guess you can take a slow boat to China, where you can comfortably travel the 160k between Schenzen and Guangzhou in 50 minutes (the express) if you just gotta ride a fast train.

Its like the US is turning into Great Britain.

Httpwww3132011
Httpwww3132011

Your comparing apples to oranges. The interstate highway was worth paying taxes for. It makes sense, its practical, and its necessary. Unlike a highway, this bullet train is a luxury.

You see, people do not complain about the highways because everyone benefits from them, directly or indirectly... THEY GET USED! If you calculated how much money would be lost without a highway system, you would see how they are considered "profitable".

Bullet trains, on the other hand, are not profitable. They provide only a luxury at the cost of taxpayer money.

If I noticed highways weren't being used, and the government wanted more, I would be outraged!

Show me where these luxury bullet trains turn a profit, and I'll show you a lie.

Gosh, people need to do their homework... Its like the US is turning into Great Britain.

Guest
Guest

Just look at Metro Fail (Metrorail) in Dade County. They took lackies from MARTA in Atlanta and elsewhere, brought them here and fucked it up royally over the past 20 years, Joe Cruz, Richard Snedden, The Union blacks, Hannie Woodson, now they have a mechanic, Harpal Kapoor running the show. What a way to run a railroad. Tri-Rail isn't the cat's ass either. Even after they got rid of Eggleton (SP?) it's still a disaster.

Randi Krotch
Randi Krotch

I HAVE RIDEN ON TRAINS AND THE ONLY PEOPLE ON THEM ARE NEGROS AND OLD PEOPLE TO AFRAID TO FLY.SO HOORAY FOR GOVERNOR SCOTT!!!!

Christy
Christy

Mr. Krotch, I suggest you read this study. Aclea now offers Hi-speed wireless attracting manybusiness and government clients. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Who Rides the High Speed Rail in the United States: The Acela Express Case Study

Paper no. JRC2010-36236 pp. 357-365 doi:10.1115/JRC2010-36236

2010 Joint Rail Conference (JRC2010) April 27–29, 2010 , Urbana, Illinois, USASponsor: Rail Transportation Division2010 Joint Rail Conference, Volume 2ISBN: 978-0-7918-4907-1

anonymous
anonymous

As a state, we're broke, and who could afford $60 bucks to ride a train between two goofy cities. Everybody's out of work, and unless they can live on that train, thank the lord that Scott killed it. Take the money and put up some tent cities, that's what Florida is going to need.

Realist
Realist

Sounds like a nice project, but we can't afford it.What would our country do if we wake up tomorrow and China says we aren't buying any more US Treasury Bonds? What options would our country have? 1. Say fine, we're not going to pay off any of our $14 trillion of outstanding debt. A large percentage of many US citizens' investment portfolios and pensions become worthless.2. Say, okay if the world won't lend us money we are going to start taking assets from other countries. If necessary nukes will be used.

Large deficits are no longer a fiscal threat, they are a serious national security issue. Our country can not afford to spend like this until deficits are turned into surpluses.

Steve-O
Steve-O

Killing High Speed Rail is the greatest thing Rick Scott has done yet. Not even Jeb could kill this fucking monstrosity. Everyone bitches and moans about public corruption but fail to recognize it in its genesis. This is exactly how politicians get greased.

Steve-O
Steve-O

The Federal Government built high-speed rail for Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook...and by gum it put them on the map.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Wait till you see what Scott and the Repukelicans do to the Homeowner's insurance market. Even Citizens Insurance company, the cheaper alternative, will be completely privatized, leading to astronomical rate increases.

This crook is going to do major damage to the people of the State of Florida. Charlie Christ was Mother Theresa compared to this criminal.

Rayboyusmc
Rayboyusmc

How can this butthead keep saying that he is going to run the state like he ran a business when he was fired as the CEO of the business he founded.

Only in Florida could a thief/incompetent be able to buy enough Republican votes to win. Maybe Alaska and Wisconsin also.

Guest
Guest

It's OVER and Done! It's not going to happen. Wait and See this is the tip of alot of things that aren't going to happen for us in Florida. We have Rick Scott the Crook as our Gov.

CSMcDonald
CSMcDonald

I think I'd believe the Reason foundation's estimate of ridership (even given funding by Oil interests) over the ridership estimates from the people who are directly involved in wanting to build this train. Especially given the track record of various government transportation agencies with ridership levels.

Pulp
Pulp

Kentucky and Florida have similar records and resumes.

Kentucky establishes dominance in the past 11 days, beating Florida twice, including a beatdown today in the SEC championship that had the Gators on their backs on a neutral court in Atlanta.

Naturally the NCAA selection committee gives Kentucky a No. 4 seed and Florida a No. 2 seed, proving they have their fucking heads buried deep in one another's asses. Incredible.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Pulp, the Gators' perceived suckyness today was a strategic move. Everybody knows they were fakin' it. The selection committee saw right through it and seeded them appropriately. Get over it, hillbilly.

Pulp
Pulp

You'll be glad to know I've come to peace with it, MC. It's absurd as hell, but it's has got to motivate the team -- especially Brandon Knight, a cerebral player if ever there was one -- and they match up with Ohio State better than any other No. 1 seed. As for UF, apart from the comparative outrage, I'm glad they got a 2 seed and a relative cake walk -- more power to the SEC.

Hal I. Tosis
Hal I. Tosis

I am curious. Why on earth would anyone want to go to either place?

Rsweeney1
Rsweeney1

Hilarious.

The principal + interest alone per one-way ticket would be $60 assuming that an amazing 3.3 million people use the train per year... equal to the Acela service between Boston and New York City (the veritable Tampa of of the North).

Guest
Guest

All That Glitters..... 0 minutes ago in reply to Electric Jack

You are a a small minded individual. Would you not build a airport because after your plane trip you need a taxi or have to rent a vehicle. Eventually another leg of that rail would have been Orlando to Miami. We lost this opportunity because short sighted people voted the Crook Scott in! "A state-sponsored ridership study, which was released this week, concluded that the proposed line would actually have been a money-maker from the start."

Highspeedrail2011
Highspeedrail2011

The god damned Republicans will destroy all the gains of the past two years since we got the bastard Bush out of office.

Prophetessa Green
Prophetessa Green

"The god damned Republicans," as you write have not been damned by God, yet further proof that she ain't out there.

Casey Jones
Casey Jones

Orlando-Tampa is a buildable, fundable demonstration project. It would not have been a contribution to regional infrastructure. That line is FLL-ATL. Both will be built, in time and in order. To quote Karnack, "Klacity-klack."

Guest
Guest

Scott is wrong for not going forward with the train and progress. So many other states with benefit from this project that could have been ours. One commentor said at the end of the 85 miles you'd have to rent a vehicle , so, how small minded!

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

Mike Mayo had a great article on the subject. What do you do when a drunken uncle wants to buy you a a big house that you know you can't afford to maintain and pay taxes on?

The gift costs you more than the value of the gift.

I see that reasoning with the train. I remember recently reading an article that the Feds were going to ask for a ton of money back from Dade Broward and Palm Beach for installing the second rail along the CSX line if they cut back on the tri-rail schedule.

I like the thought of public transportation, but until it can take you where you need to go quicker or less expensive than driving, nobody's going to use it.

skydove
skydove

That's it in a nutshell: "where you need to go." The Tampa-Orlando project represents the application of existing technology to a transportation/fuel use problem that doesn't seem to be pressing but, regardless of the long-term merits of the idea, would create short-term gratitude to the perceived benefactors. This ignores a situation that keeps getting swept under the rug: the hundreds of thousands of miles a year driven by, for example, residents in developments in western Broward and Palm Beach counties. These are people who, five days a week, have a consistently demonstrated "need to go" to and from jobs from Miami to Lauderdale to West Palm to Boca and points in between. This is all very wasteful, but the only feasible alternative -- a massive system of extremely reliable jitney services -- is not even on the table, undoubtedly for the very good reason that it wouldn't fly. Not here, not now.

Ccvoter
Ccvoter

As a taxpayer and a very informed citizen on the subject of ‘commuters on rails’ I think Governor Scott make the RIGHT decision. He didn’t jump to grab the money the Feds dangled in front of the faces of the politicos. He made a judgment decision that a good businessman would make in this type of case. He examined all the costs that would be needed to get the rail up and running. The costs are a significant multiplier of the measly starter money the feds throw at the eager “railers“. the costs of which ultimately would be funded by the taxpayers of all of Florida not just the ones on the Tampa-Orlando corridor. To have looked beyond the initial funding and to the real costs of building and funded the operating costs and to realistically anticipate the financial benefits which are so often miscalculated by the “railers”, truly indicates that the Governor is a sound business person with the interest of Florida taxpayers foremost, not just the bank accounts of the benefactors whose bottoms line would bulge at the expense of the taxpayers. To think that a bullet train would provide any real dollar benefit to Florida in this economy is a suggestion that the those who reside in the halls of the federal bureaucracy really know what they are doing with our money.

Dave E
Dave E

Deprive Obama? Of a new shiny thing, AGAIN! The Train goes the wrong direction to have a real impact and to pay for itself. It's 2011 and why doesn't EVERYONE here in Florida have a solar panel or two, or three that's affordable without government subsidy? That's more important than a phallic train.

lisa
lisa

I think that the politicians need to open there eyes. People are losing there houses and jobs.If they have jobs they are not getting raises to even cover the rising cost of things like foodto feed there families or fuel to get to the job that they have. High speed rail will not benifitthe vast masses of the people in the state that they are suppost to be looking out for. This wouldcost the people in that state of florida more money, that by the way people do not have. An manypeople do the high speed rail as it is. By the way tickets will be at least 30 dollars one way and you still have to drve to the station pay to park and then pay to rent a car or for a taxi when you get where you are going. so unless you are a high payed executive or policition who could afford to ride it anyway.

Adele
Adele

Their-not There/ Sorry but I feel you're wrong. You sound like you're a Hill Bllly with no aspiration for yourself . Very small minded. Have you ever been to an airport?No use going further. I afraid you wouldn.t get it.

Parkland man
Parkland man

We dont need the train use airlines,trains are old hat,the only think we can use a train for is to get all the sb lawyers out of florida,use the money for making more money,get better buses and more flights for people to move around,they says its to create jobs,thats bs have they people doing jobs now,do better at what they do now,we have lazy people workimg in florida,be more like new yorkers and make it happen,get your ass of the couch,stop putting your hand out and build something.remember jfk and the he used. Ps. Put stacy rittervin jail already.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

So far, that's two opinions adverse to high speed rail, neither of which are coherent. You are a jag-off and a broken record, with your anti-lawyer bullshit.

BTW: I already had you profiled as some guttural grease ball from New Yawk.

Thank you for confirming that my profiling skills are still intact.

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey virgil,nice coment are you a closet fag,that never gets laid,go fuck a lawyer it might make you feel better,and im irish and love to fight sol let me know if you like to join me.

parkland man
parkland man

Hey asshole whats your problem you like jew lawyers,lets hope one sues you soon then you will be mf them to death.there nothing but dog shit at best,look at them all going to jail,open your eyes mabey you like rapeist also,i dont like stealing or robbing period,and if you do then thats your problem,and now that you called me a mick now go fuck yourself you jew basterd.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Greaseball wasn't an ethnic slur. I apply that to anyone who sounds like you, and many are from the northeast. If it was my intent to make an ethnic slur, and I thought you were eyetalian, I would have called you a dago, you dumb mick.

Linda
Linda

I still think you are an illiterate ignorant SLUG!

Parkland man
Parkland man

Hey sb im irish,no a pussy jew like you,so go blow a lawyer if you like dirtbags that much,or are you a fn closet fag,gfy parkland man

Christy
Christy

Rick Scott has his own Agenda.

The Acela Express is a great way to travel. One can be comfortable, productive and on timewhen traveling. Florida is so far behind in more ways than one. We have the sunshine but that is about it. Rick Scott for business not for the people.

Diver Mon
Diver Mon

How much would you be willing to pay for this trip? 25bucks? 35? 55?

GhostOfMcLovin
GhostOfMcLovin

Acela Express has never turned a profit, and costs taxpayers millions. Great Example.

Christy
Christy

Do you have any Stats Senator? My research Boasts Acela is profitable.

" Acela Express is one of the few Amtrak lines being profitable. The two train lines generate more than half of Amtrak’s total revenue, source."

http://newsicare.wordpress.com...

Electric Jack
Electric Jack

An do you realize that when you get to the end of the 85 mile railroad that you have to go rent a vehicle to finish your journey....all this does is create a another union war chest

Guest
Guest

You are a a small minded individual. Would you not build a airport because after your plane trip you need a taxi or have to rent a vehicle. Eventually another leg of that rail would have been Orlando to Miami. We lost this opportunity because short sighted people voted the Crook Scott in! "A state-sponsored ridership study, which was released this week, concluded that the proposed line would actually have been a money-maker from the start."

Diver Mon
Diver Mon

really?

no passenger rail system in the US breaks even. so how much tax increase are you willing to pay to run this? extra 100 / yr?

and how much would you spend on a ticket?

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