The conservatives who call themselves tea party activists are overjoyed that Gov. Rick Scott smacked down President Obama’s $2.4 billion plan to help build a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. And Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ decision to back Scott and buck his own voting record and senate made it all the sweeter.
But the tea party folks aren’t done.
Tea party conservatives also want the state to scuttle the proposed Central Florida passenger-rail system known as SunRail, a pet project of Winter Park Republican Dean Cannon, the speaker of the Florida House who’s a zealous defender of the home-town project.
Cannon today said he backed Scott, but sources say he’s trying to make sure his home-town bacon doesn’t get thrown into the fire.
Some Republicans and tea party folks say SunRail is as big or bigger a boondoggle than high-speed rail.
It costs almost as much as the proposed bullet train -- about $2.7 billion – and each would carry about the same number of passengers yearly, about 3 million. But SunRail requires more state and local money -- $1.4 billion – than high-speed rail, which could cost the state treasury about $300 million. And bullet-train backers say the private industry might pick up the tab. (handy-dandy side-by-side is here Download Sun&HSR)