Rick Scott, Nixing High-Speed Rail, Cedes Talent and Economic Benefit to the Muslim World

Categories: Transportation
Corridor_fla.PNG
"I didn't fight to become Gov. of the greatest state in nation to settle for a status quo that doesn't promote the potential of our people," tweeted Rick Scott in a typical bout of unsubstantiated braggadocio. See also: "Florida can become the most innovative and effective place in the country to educate the workforce of the future." Or, for that matter, "Imagine with me what Fla. will be like once we turn our state around. Fla. WILL be the leading job creator over the next 8 years."

A man so proud of his state would likely want to make decisions that would put his constituents on track to build more, work harder, and attract more visitors than the rest of the world. Maybe even cut their dependency on the oil exports that fuel somebody else's government, far away. So it's a bit of a shock that his unilateral decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line has resulted in a top transportation official leaving Florida... for the oil-rich Arab nation of Qatar.

That's right, the country with the highest GDP per capita in the world, and gas prices that are hovering around a buck a gallon, is building a high-speed rail network. And they're doing it with one of our own at the helm: Nazih Haddad, the former high-speed rail chief at the Florida Department of Transportation, is taking a job with the Qatari government to oversee the project, a $26 billion combination of light rail and high-speed rail that is slated to be in place for the 2022 World Cup.

Think about that. That is 11 years from now. And the project will cost ten times as much as the mostly federal-funded rail line in Florida would have. What does Rick Scott have planned for 11 years from now? And hosting a world-class event might just bring us closer to being "the greatest state in the nation," as Scott calls it. Fact is, the Florida Department of Transportation might not exist by then, as Scott's transition team recommended consolidating it, along with the environmental and growth management bureaus, into a "Department of Growth Leadership." He has not appointed anyone to head the Department of Transportation, although a commission recommended three people on February 11.

Haddad told the St. Petersburg Times that he received the offer from Qatar months ago, but was reluctant to accept it while the prospect of a high-speed rail project in Florida seemed possible. Now, of course, that's not an issue -- Gov. Scott has nixed the plans for good, saying that taxpayers would be on the hook for a portion of the project not covered by federal funds. He cited a single study, by a libertarian organization affiliated with the Koch brothers, that questioned whether the line would have enough riders. A state-sponsored study that he neglected to mention found that the line would have made money for the state from the beginning.

But now, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has announced that he will be relocating Florida's spurned money to other states eager for high-speed rail projects. And while Florida trips over itself trying to host another Super Bowl, Qatar should have a hell of a World Cup in 2022.


Follow The Juice on Twitter: @TheJuiceBPB.
My Voice Nation Help
1 comments
flnative1
flnative1

Rick Scott, a good reason we in Florida should pass a state constitutional admendment for open primaries. Yes we have problems in Florida, Yes we have high unemployement, Yes we have a budget crisis, but every question Gov Scott had about this was answered and the taxpayer was off the hook forever! LaHood said Scott was full of balogny and didn't know what he was talking about. Gov. Scott made this decision entirely because his libertarian leaning and the Koch brothers influence. He didn't care at all about the creation of jobs in Florida it would bring. How great it would have been him embracing this, and a few years from now being able to brag about his accomplishment, the jobs he created with it, bring Florida to the forefront of all the states. Now the money goes to another state, making jobs for other states, and Florida becoming a third world state! And the 30,000 "permanent" jobs he says that will come with the dredging of Miami, today the same people Scott listened to about giving the rail money to another state have said basically that's balogney also! It may bring 100-200 at that in permanent jobs. Gov Scott is an embarassment and a dissapointment.

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...