Florida Gov. Rick Scott Gets Sued for Stupidity Regarding High-Speed Rail

If you haven’t heard the news yet, the new Tea Party Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, recently rejected $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds from the federal government, a move that is without sound logic and is either due to corruption, him being forced to do so by his out-of-the-public-eye superiors/funders, or pure ignorance.

Now, two Florida state senators (one Republican and one Democrat) have filed a lawsuit against Rick Scott. The lawsuit claims that Scott overstepped his authority in rejecting the federal funds. The legislators had already agreed to fund the project and Scott had no legal right to change that.

“If every newly elected governor decided to stop the major infrastructure projects which were under way when he was elected, Florida will not be able to plan, finance, and construct the major infrastructure projects it requires for its people and its future,” the 281-page lawsuit argues.

“The bipartisan petition with the Florida Supreme Court asks that Scott be forced to approve the Tampa to Orlando rail project. They believe it would bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the state,” Michael Peltier of Reuters reports.

Scott’s Initial Rejection of the High-Speed Rail Funds & the Obama Administration’s Response

After Scott’s initial rejection of the high-speed rail funds, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood offered Scott a chance to reconsider. He gave Scott until February 25 to get his act together on the matter and change his mind. Scott didn’t do so and LaHood even extended the opportunity. The lawsuit comes after Scott dropped the ball on that opportunity.

Financial Realities and Implications of the Florida High-Speed Rail Projects

To be clear on the finances of this situation, the federal government was putting in $2.4 billion for some important high-speed rail links initially between Orlando and Tampa and eventually extending to Miami. Florida had to come up with a measly $300 million match and cover some of the operating costs, all of which would probably bring several times more back to the state in billions of dollars worth of new business and thousands upon thousands of new jobs. Nonetheless, Scott and his team either can’t do math or didn’t even think about trying.

Why Would Scott be So Stubborn & Irresponsible?

More likely than not, I think the reason for Scott rejecting the funds is basically to continue the new extreme Republican party’s complete obstructionism to everything the Obama administration tries to do. They want to make Obama look like a failure by ruining the United States (or their portion of the United States) while he’s in office. It’s a political move that essentially means holding the public hostage.

Florida Support for High-Speed Rail

If you think Scott is playing to the preferences of the voters, think again. 67% of Floridians polled on the matter support state or federal funding for high-speed rail and only 17% oppose it.

Floridians want high-speed rail. They are tired of traffic jams and want the economic growth and job creation that comes with the project, which is nearly entirely funded by the federal government anyway. They don’t want to go down the route of Wisconsin and be the laughing stock of the United States.

Photo Credit: JAXPORT

About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.
  • Pingback: China and Europe Steaming Ahead on Clean Energy, not the U.S. | ecopolitology()

  • I believe Rick Scott said in his campaign “lets put people back to work” I guess he only meant that for him self. By the way, if the money is meant to be for Florida – why not send a stimulus check to the people of florida with that money. Don’t give that money to wisconsin – let the federal government issue other funds to them. I take it rick scott is not a man of his words, just another body in office looking to scam the hard working people out of there right to jobs and money. Hey If I wore a suit everyday and made couple million a year plus 10 million more in incentives I would care less about the ordinary man or women trying to find a job to feed there family

  • VO

    Good and straightforward article. Scott is just a tea-party puppet. Republicans have already set in motion their 2012 presidential election plan and are placing politics over public interest. Disgusting.

  • Great article. You hit the nail on the head in that this is “a move that is without sound logic and is either due to corruption, him being forced to do so by his out-of-the-public-eye superiors/funders, or pure ignorance.” add a dollop of shear arrogance and a dash of criminal mastermind and you have a taste of Florida’s nightmare.

  • Zachary,
    Could you share the operating cost estimates vs. ridership estimates to show how the HSR will avoid costing Florida taxpayers (and I am one) lots of money.
    It may be swell to get a bunch of $$ from the feds, but that’s taxpayer money, too.
    I think you might find the following blog, from a staunch liberal who nonetheless is totally opposed to HSR in California (and most locations: http://high-speedtraintalk.blogspot.com/
    He hates George Will, by the way, so you probably have that in common.
    I think this is such an important issue that we need to set aside partisanship to try to make smart choices.

  • Excellent article. Yes, the Tea Party has one aim – to make Obama look bad. This is not a group of people that let facts trump ideology. When your rich Uncle offers you a crisp $100.00 because he feels generous – you say “Thank You”!
    As a Californian, I expect nothing will change and our own HSR plans will be getting financial boost! Good luck with the horse and buggy crowd!


    • mike, as a Floridian, I totally disagree with you. & even several leading Republican politicians in FL disagree with you on this point. i don’t think he is winning a lot of friends on this one..

  • e syme

    Stupidity with a capital S. Must b nice 2 be wealthy. The working man needs the opportunity to work that this project would bring. R u so out of touch that u don’t know how many people need work?

  • Pingback: Rick Scott Gets Sued by Florida Senators for Rejecting High-Speed Rail Funds – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views()