Here are excerpts from Scott's prepared remarks:
....today I am announcing my decision to reject the Obama administration’s plan to partially-fund the costly Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project.
Moments ago I spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to inform him of my decision. I appreciate the Secretary’s efforts to work with us and I look forward to working with him in the future.
My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:
First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.
Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million – $575 million over 10 years) – Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.
Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.
This announcement is going to make a whole bunch of Central Florida folks very unhappy.
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