State Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera, says news today that 15 states are splitting the $2 billion that had been designated for Florida's high speed rail project was yet another blow to Gov. Rick Scott's argument to decline the money.
"The governor is either intentionally lying or it's malfeasance," said Altman, who unsuccessfully sued to stop Scott from blocking the federal cash.
Altman pointed to a press release Scott sent in April taking credit for helping prevent the federal government shutdown. Scott said his rejection of the money allowed Congress to cut high-speed rail funding, which was part of the budget deal to avoid a shutdown. (While U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., practically thanked Scott personally in her press release today.)
Scott's spokesman, Brian Burgess, said it was "indisputable" that Scott's decision to turn down the money helped. "It made it a lot easier," Burgess said.
But Altman says the news today is proof Scott's statement was wrong. "This is the final piece of misinformation," he said.
Altman said Scott' has lost several other arguments. Scott's claim that high-speed rail was a "boondoggle" was contradicted by a Florida Department of Transportation study and Scott's top attorney, Charles Trippe, had to walk back a key fact his Supreme Court argument about how much the state had spend on the project.
"This is almost propaganda," Altman said. "It's all proven to be false and as a result we've lost money for would have been the most modern transportation system in America, if not the world."
"He intentionally ignored the facts to make a political point," Altman continued. "It was a political move to prevent the president from having a project awarded to Florida.
"In his disdain for the president and his zeal to make him look bad, he was even willing to hurt the people of Florida."