The Tampa to Orlando line had the backing of everyone from business to the state’s Republican legislators; but Rick Scott, the new Tea Party-backed governor, blocked it as a “big government boondoggle”. Today the Transportation Department announced that the money will go elsewhere.
Scott had claimed that even though the Federal Government was fully funding the project to the tune of $2 billion dollars, the state couldn’t afford what he called “huge operating costs” – this despite the fact that investor groups had guaranteed to cover any overruns or deficits.
What became clear was that this wasn’t about economics, but about ideology – just as in New Jersey and Wisconsin, where Republican governors blocked equally necessary rail programs out of opposition to “big government”.
Florida’s Tampa to Orlando line would have been the first high-speed rail line to be put into operation, and the run from the Orlando airport to the Disney resorts would have guaranteed passengers… but having a successful showpiece was the last thing the anti-rail ideologues wanted. So that’s that.
Post Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/12/idUS371924084920110512