Former House Republican leader Adam Hasner spoke glowingly of high-speed rail and commuter rail in December 2009 when the Republican leadership used the lure of federal bullet train money to garner support for Central Florida's local rail proposal, SunRail.
But now that Gov. Rick Scott suddenly called for a rejection of high-speed rail money, Hasner is all for that as well. So is Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a friend and fellow Republican who might face him in the U.S. Senate primary.
So what gives?
Times changed, Hasner said. And so did the state's financial picture.
"The reality is, if we don't have the money, we don't have the money," Hasner said. "Governor Scott did the right thing by looking at out-year budgets, realizing we don't have the money and rejecting it."
But it's not like the state was in great shape in 2009. In December of that year, lawmakers had just finished cutting the general-revenue budget, raising taxes and accepting President Obama's stimulus money to help keep the budget afloat. Many also knew that, the following session (2010), they'd have more shortfalls to deal with, which they did.
Anyway, contrast Hasner's current sentiment with this passage from a Dec. 5, 2009 South Florida Sun-Sentinel story that Democrats are making much of:
A network of bullet trains connecting urban centers would take a strong financial commitment and years, if not decades, to develop. But with reliable, fast trains, supporters say, Floridians could be coaxed from their cars and off the roads.
The aim is to "think beyond the next election and think about what we want Florida to look like 10, 20 years from now," said House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton. "Making a decision today is not about an overnight success; it's about how we want Florida to look in the future."