Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Haridopolos drop-kicks high-speed rail

From Keith Lang of the News Service of Florida on Jan. 5:
TALLAHASSEE — Newly-inaugurated Gov. Rick Scott has not yet signaled whether or not he will get on board with a high speed rail connecting Tampa and Orlando, but the Senate president says he won’t go along for the ride.

Supporters have argued that the long-sought train would be mostly paid for with federal money. But speaking with reporters late Tuesday night during Scott’s inaugural ball, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said that even if the state only has to pay $300 million instead of the full $2.6 billion, the price tag is still too high.

“My take on high speed rail is if we’ve got to (pay) $300 million, I’m not going to go for it,” Haridopolos told the News Service of Florida. “We can’t afford $300 million. It might be 90 percent off, but it’s still $300 million we don’t have….. I’m not going to borrow from the Chinese to build a railroad that a lot of people don’t want.”

Federal officials say the project is the most shovel ready one in the nationwide network President Barack Obama envisions eventually rivaling the federal interstate highway system.


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