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26 Florida Senators rebuke Rick Scott over bullet train

A veto-proof majority of the Florida Senate rebuked Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday in a letter that urged the federal government to give the state $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money that Scott wants to reject.

“Politics should have no place in the future of Florida’s transportation, as evidenced by this letter of bipartisan support,” said the letter, signed by 26 members of the Republican-controlled Florida Senate.

“This project would create real jobs, cleaner and smarter transportation and true economic development for Floridians,” said the letter written to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The letter was partly authored by one of Scott’s first senate backers, Republican Paula Dockery of Lakeland, who argued that the newly created Florida Rail Enterprise could act independently of Scott because the state’s share of the rail money -- $300 million – was already approved last year by a previous governor, Charlie Crist.

Scott shocked legislators by unexpectedly announcing he would reject the money and then doubled-down Thursday by calling bullet train a “boondoggle.” He cited findings from the Libertarian Reason Foundation that questioned the ridership projections for the Tampa-Orlando rail line.

Dockery said the study was “inaccurate.” Echoing other Senators, Dockery said the state would be foolish to turn down the federal money to create a “premier” rail line.

“This was going to be a model for the nation,” Dockery said.

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos didn’t sign the letter, which is the first sign that the new governor has met the limits of his authority.

“I was never a big supporter of high-speed rail,” said Haridopolos, who nevertheless voted for the rail-legislation package in December 2009.

One of Haridopolos' top lieutenants did sign Dockery’s letter: Senate Republican leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who pushed the rail legislation more than a year ago.

“We’re just saying slow this down, don’t give away this money just yet,” Gardiner said. He also noted that the executive and legislative branches of government clash from time to time, pointing out that former Senate President Toni Jennings once sued former Gov. Jeb Bush over the budget. Bush later tapped her to become his lieutenant governor.

Gardiner referred questions about the legality of Scott’s rejection of federal money to Sen. David Simmons, whom he described as the “brains” of the senate. Simmons helped write the letter along with Dockery and Sen. Thad Altman.

“The bottom line is that he can’t reject this money: It was already approved by another Legislature and another governor,” said Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. “It’s like trying to veto a bill after it becomes law. It’s too late.”

Simmons said it also made no sense to allow other states to get what he says is the state’s fair share of federal money.

“This is like holding a gun to our heads and telling the federal government: Don’t give us this money or we’ll blow our brains out,” Simmons said.

The number of senators, 26, is a significant number in that it sends Scott a subtle message: The Florida Senate could over-ride a future veto of rail money.

Other senators said they also didn't like the fact that Scott decided to reverse a decision of the Legislature without giving lawmakers a heads up.

"This is a sign: Talk to us first," said Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.

One senator, who didn't want to be identified, was more blunt about Scott: "Is he f**#!ng crazy?"

Download 2-17-11 Letter to LaHood from Florida Senators

Comments

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Michael Courtney

This Governor is the former CEO of a corporation that was actively involved in schemes to commit Medicare fraud. He claims to have known nothing about it.

He, therefore, must be either completely incompetent as a manager or he is a crook. I don't see any other possibilities. How can we expect this clown to do anything right?

Michael Courtney
Orlando

WC Green

I rebuked my senator for signing this letter. This is not the time to chase after gold rings. It's time to cut back and be fiscally responsible.

Liz Ernst

Who exactly voted for this guy?

Zyrahnimus Carandini

Ok run that by me again, cutting back? How in on earth is that responsible, to refuse money that would bring thousands of new jobs, stir up the economy for the state and thereby affecting the east coast as well. To be used for a project like the high speed rail system?

which I don't know about you.. but have you seen this states highway system? It's absolutely horrid. Having a system like this would dramatically increase business, decrease pollution from motor vehicles... would promote both tourism, which promotes trade, which promotes jobs, which promotes real estate growth, which would simulate the economy so that not just the state of Florida, but the country as a whole would eventually and FINALLY be geared towards economic and technological advancement like other countries in the world such as those in Asia and Europe.

Which by the way, is the reason why the united states is seen as a bullying, barbaric, backwards, and under developed society...

When is this country going to wake up and realize that unless you keep up with those countries whose educational level on a global scale, is far superior than your own... and learn to adapt and evolve...instead of being only content with what you have.

Then this nation will forever have the stigma of refusing to change for the better.. insistent on stagnation and blind foolish pride.

Walter potter

Didn't we vote for the high speed rail system? Why yes we did!

"In November 2000, Florida voters approved an amendment to Florida's constitution mandating the state establish a system of high speed trains exceeding 120 mph to link its five largest urban areas, with construction to commence by November 1, 2003. The Florida Legislature enacted the Florida High Speed Rail Authority Act in March 2001, creating the Florida High Speed Rail Authority"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_high_speed_rail#Original_referendum

So we voted for an amendment to the FL constitution mandating the high speed rail system and Gov Scott decides he knows better than the people of Florida and rejects it. I reject Gov Scott!

Jody Long

The high speed rail between Tampa nd Orlando is a DOG!

The most profitable rail system in America is the NY subway system and it HAS TO BE SUBSIDIZED because it doesn't bring in enough revenue to offset it's costs.

Q: If the rail system was needed, and would be profitable, why wouldn't a private company build it?
A: Because no public transportation system anywhere in the world turns a profit!

Q: Who will pay for yearly upkeep?
A: Florida's taxpayers.

LESS GOVERNMENT SPENDING = MORE PERSONAL FREEDOM!

Drive time from Tampa to Orlando is 75 minutes. The train would shave 15 minutes off that ( WOW ). Once you get to the destination, what then??? Will you walk to wherever you need to go? Will you have to rent a car?

Thanks God this isn't Europe or Asia. This is America! The greatest country on earth. If you don't like it - go back to wherever you came from!

Zyrahnimus Carandini

The high speed rail between Tampa nd Orlando is a DOG???

Lets look at the facts here... since FACTS are all that matter, not blind shouts of patriotism to a country that uses its citizens on the New York stock exchange to fuel its economy using a system that was first used in the Maternity Act that was removed by the Supreme Court on grounds of being unconstitutional, and later on was developed even further in Germany by the Nazis!

"The most profitable rail system in America is the NY subway system and it HAS TO BE SUBSIDIZED because it doesn't bring in enough revenue to offset it's costs."

Ok look, its not about cost as it is about when you want something like say low cost transportation that works and makes like easy on its citizens, not difficult like the local bus transit currently does in spades.

"Q: If the rail system was needed, and would be profitable, why wouldn't a private company build it?
A: Because no public transportation system anywhere in the world turns a profit!"

Your wrong, on so many fronts its ridiculous, have you even been outside of the country in your whole life.. ever? Cause to make such a brash claim based on personal opinion instead of facts is proof that insanity runs in this country... in your case it practically gallops.

"Q: Who will pay for yearly upkeep?
A: Florida's taxpayers."

Ok... for one thing why are you complaining about having to pay for something that will make the lives of everyone less of a burden by boosting the economy and sparing out ecosystem from having further damage? There are people in this country who have the gall, the arrogance to say America is the greatest country in the world, is pretty freaking obnoxious.

Yet those who say america is the greatest country on earth have never even been outside this country in their lives to actually compare it to others.

Therefore, they don't know that Switzerland has the best health care on earth, the highest life expectancy on average with the UK and Germany coming close to it. This was proven live on CNN News..

So those who have the gall to say that the United States is the greatest country on earth.. all that proves is that they're claims are really not based on facts, but personal options based on blind so-called patriotism. If they were so patriotic... then you'd know that Taxes from "personal gains and wages" is not legal, only from "corporate gains and activity" as quoted by the Supreme Court.

"Tampa to Orlando is 75 minutes. The train would shave 15 minutes off that ( WOW ). Once you get to the destination, what then??? Will you walk to wherever you need to go? Will you have to rent a car?"

You do realize the Japanese have a rail system set up to where they don't have to walk too far from the rail to the destination of choice all thanks to proper planning and sound wisdom. That where the red marker is located is exactly where the doors on a rail stop at, and at the exact time... all the time.. never once LATE.

Are people in this country that lazy that walking a block or two has become a major threat
to personal freedom? Well, I guess God should have given Americans of the united states mechanical wheels for a lower torso instead of legs since it seems they don't desire to have or need them anymore.

Tell that to people who have lost they're legs, who would give anything to have them back again.


"Thanks God this isn't Europe or Asia. This is America! The greatest country on earth. If you don't like it - go back to wherever you came from!"

Ok, then why don't you go back to the United Kingdom.. since last time I checked.. the only real americans who founded this country were NOT spanish, NOR were they White, Nor were they Black....They were Native Americans.. you know the people that the Whites exploited out of they're homes, they're lands, after they swindled, lied, cheated, stoled from them, and sent over 120,000,000.00 of them to they're DEATHS....

So as a two wise men once said; "Truly if their is Evil in this world, it lies within the Hearts of Men" "Democracy is a sham, this country was founded as a Republic, a country based not on the opinions of the many... but to protect the rights of the few... to defend the weak against the strong.. to show respect of all men, no matter what race, creed, color, sex or sexual orientation, and above all religion.

We were cursed to have those who came with us in the name of faith... only to bind us in the chains of indifference and hatred for those things they knew not of nor cared to understand... simply because they feared the unknown.. and what they feared.. they would control..

So those men who established (not founded) this great nation, a nation based on Laws and Not the will of the Many, of where the Rights of a single person are safe and secure from the ravages of masses who would seek to devour them. That the many mistakes of the past would be remembered, and not as they are now to this day.. horribly repeated.

If there is a villain... Democracy is that foe.. it was Democracy that destroyed the Greeks and their empire, then the Romans who were a republic... became corrupted by Democracy and they too fell as an empire. The men who signed the constitution of the united states hated Democracy for they knew of its corrupt taint and how it had destroyed empire after empire. Yes we too have fallen into the trap placed before us, like a herd of sheep. Of what will our children say of us years from now, that these ruins of a nation past once believed in personal freedom.. died on their knees in bondage.. willingly.

Truly we will reap what we as a people, have sown"

Kevin Williams

For those of you that still don't get it............Government CANNOT create jobs. Tax dollars cannot create jobs because it becomes redistribution of wealth. Tax dollars are taken from the people, not willfully given by the people. Only money spent willfully in the free market, can spur the economy forward.

Melanie

Wow is this man that out of date? I agree with Liz & furthermore maybe Rick Scott should travel out of Florida & maybe to cities that have other transportation options that actually work-but wait that would mean he can actually look at the big picture of what is wrong in FLorida. Maybe thats why there is things like insufficient road systems here with the population & it takes twice as long to get there with more stress & frustration. & oops did I forget that little things like the ticket you have to buy to ride the bullet train would create money & again jobs for people to monitor it. Wow no wonder why at the higher income & education level of a person I dont want to stay in the state of Florida anymore because we have people like him who think like old people who dont go anywhere!

Zyrahnimus Carandini

Well said Melanie, indeed more and more people are waking up to the facts about people who seem to think that Tax dollars are what spurs the economy...

yet those are the same idiots like Rush Limbaugh who think that to solve poverty in this country, that "children need to look for food in dumpsters"...

what sick minds we have manipulating this country nowadays.. both depraved and too stubborn to see reality unless its in they're face...

They don't want to believe that such things exist in this country.. because its too much for their high and mighty "this is the greatest country ever" crap to believe that there are major problems in they're own back yard.. It's easy for them to swallow having to send money and food, etc.. to third world countries... but to fix.. not patch the problem with temp solutions... but actually solve the issue of poverty in this country..

If they spent all those billions of dollars they poured into going off to war overseas and pumped it into Fixing THIS country's problems FIRST, we wouldn't have any to deal with years from now.. There would be JOBS, and we would have things like solar energy for every state in the bloody union.

So mister Kevin Williams, your telling me that Government cannot create jobs, that tax dollars do.. well then sir mind telling me... whats the point of having a government, if not to manage the stability and security of the nation that it GOVERNS... Job stability IS one of the roles that Government is supposed to manage...

Otherwise you might as well have everyone else who still has a brain after having survived years of government and media lies.. leave this country and move to one whose government, actually knows how to do they're job!

J Gordon

to the nitwits who said it would have to be subsidized...ALL transportation systems are subsidized...the highways are subsidized, the airports and air traffic control systems are subsidized. They are ALL subsidized. This link isn't the end all....it is ONE link in a a statewide rail system that becomes a nationwide rail system. We are quickly becoming a 3rd world country. We are no longer the greatest country in the world....people who think so need to get out a little more and off of their front porches. We don't build the best of anything anymore......the Europeans, Asians, and South Americans do......not the best planes, not the best cars, not the best rail, not the best of really anything....we are pathetic losers and naysayers who are opposed to projects like this are just accelerating that decline.

Paul Uhland

Mr. Zyr...Nice liberal, nanny-state gibberish. Rush Limbaugh has NEVER advocated children rooting through dumpsters!???
The government administers laws, but has NO BUSINESS controlling jobs, companies, private sector employment, needs to back off trying to infect and control imperfect capitalism with UNWANTED socialism, thanks to the boy maniac Obama and his illegal thug gang, lackey unions. WHAT program of his has worked, so far? Name one. We now have REALLY un-payable deficits.
Anyway, I hope Florida gets its HSR line.

ChuckM

Enough with all of the bickering. Please tell me how the state intends to cover the construction overruns and the O&M costs, without raising taxes. That simple.

Frank Accetta

Just wanted to say that I didn't vote for governor Scott, but am 100% behind his reasoning regarding HSR. Had Someone proposed a commuter rail from Tampa to Orlando connecting all stops in between--that might have made sense, but this not so high speed rail is a dog.

Chris Schultz

I'm from Wisconsin. Our governor has already blown our state's brains out. Hope you're enjoying our $80 million he gave back.

Draconius

Rick Scott should just go back where he came from and leave us alone. He is like a cancer on our state and needs to be taken out right away. Where does this bald-headed clown get off, dictating what the people of Florida want or need, when he himself made a fortune by ripping off taxpayers? Put him in the cooler and throw away the key!

Zyrahnimus Carandini

Paul Uhland, you are so dead wrong...have you not heard the recording of Rush Limbaugh, declaring that and I quote; "kids should dumpster dive for food".

The recording is on youtube; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bM8CQGFdMUM

See the link above, copy and paste, its there bright as day. Only deaf and blind fools who think that poverty does not exist in this country, who think that poor people, men, women and children do not exist, or that children should dumpster dive for food, are a figment of ones imagination.

To those who think this country is doing well... I ask you why is it that every other sovereign nation is rising from this recession, from Russia to china, united kingdom to Germany? Why is it the we import more than we export? Why is it the we are loosing jobs, spending money beyond our means? And worse of all by using the idea; "in the name of Security", we have become a police state where j-walkers are beaten and receive a $120 fine, go to jail and are stuck on probation where their freedom is at risk of further persecution?

Where we're spending more money building correctional institutions instead of refineries and factories? In a country where men like Rick Scott care more about ambition and riches and less about the people in which they govern, I leave you all now with a thought that is as true then as it is today....

It is written in the Tao Te Ching; “Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.”

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