Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he's giving Florida Gov. Rick Scott another week to consider the feds offer of $2.4 billion for high speed rail. LaHood said he met with Scott today "to discuss the high speed rail project that will create jobs and economic development for the entire state of Florida.
"He asked me for additional information about the state’s role in this project, the responsibilities of the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as how the state would be protected from liability," LaHood said in a statement. "I have decided to give Governor Scott additional time to review the agreement crafted by local officials from Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland and Miami, and to consult with his staff at the state Department of Transportation. He has committed to making a final decision by the end of next week. I feel we owe it to the people of Florida, who have been working to bring high speed rail to their state for the last 20 years, to go the extra mile."
But LaHood earlier today slammed Scott for (twice) declining federal dollars for high speed rail.
Asked on Bloomberg News about Scott's contention that the project could pose a $3 billion risk to the state and that if it went kaput, the state would have to pay back the $2.4 billion, LaHood said, "It's baloney.
"He doesn't know what he's talking about," LaHood said. "We just worked out a very good agreement between the cities of Orlando. No other person on this planet, including people in Florida that have been working on high-speed rail for 20 years, would agree with that statement. There's no factual information in there."