Somehow, every time a governor makes a really bad decision that denies appropriate transportation options to his constituents, he gets chance after chance to take it back. And somehow, they never do.
Take Chris Christie of New Jersey. How many times did he say no to the ARC Tunnel before it was finally over? And now Rick Scott of Florida has killed the Florida high-speed rail project deader than dead.
He announced a week ago that he was rejecting $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money for a high-speed line to run from Orlando to Tampa. Everyone from DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to Rep. John Mica to Sen. Bill Nelson and countless Floridians have tried to change his mind. They tried to allay his fears about the state’s financial exposure. They promised that private investors would take over the risk and local governments would manage the project. Mica proposed scaling back to a 21-mile line from the Orlando Airport to the Convention Center and Disney World.
But Rick Scott won’t budge.
Scott’s press office won’t say when he’s expected to make the announcement, but local Florida papers are already announcing, based on anonymous tips, that it’s all over.
Even without an official announcement, Twitter lit up with frustration over Scott’s decision.
“Rick Scott Throws Florida Under The Train.”
“Scott is tone-deaf. Disastrous for Florida.”
“This was a political move not a business decision.”
“Can’t believe he turned down the money for the rails. That would have brought jobs to fl and would have helped!”
“#Floridians officially embarrassed! California, you’re welcome!”
“Enjoy the money and the jobs, California and New York. Signed: Rick Scott”
Sen. Bill Nelson said, “A wise man’s quote favored by President Kennedy was that ‘an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.’ Well, today, Rick Scott made one heck-of-a mistake.”