Florida Gov. Scott's State of the State: Still a Chance for the High Rail Bullet Train?
This afternoon at six o'clock, Florida Governor Rick Scott will deliver his State of the State address from Tallahassee. You can watch it online via The Florida Channel (www.thefloridachannel.org).
The Country is Watching Florida Governor Rick Scott
The eyes of the nation will be watching today's address, as well as lots of Floridians concerned about the current business and economic climate. Rick Scott is well known for having put $73,000,000 of his own money into his victorious election campaign as part of his stance that he was taking on the job of governor not as a politician but as a businessman.
The New York Times points to this cornerstone of Governor Scott's current position on many economic proposals in a piece entitled "Florida Republicans Are at Odds With Their Leader," and one of their big examples of how the Governor is being criticized for failing to understand the distinctions between how a for-profit corporation is run and how a state government operates is his thumbs-down to the bullet train proposal.
The Los Angeles Times is also covering this story, providing their readers with reporting from Aaron Deslatte of the Orlando Sentinel that "Scott, legislators ready to begin contentious 60-day session." Here, the focus is on Scott's promise to bring 700,000 jobs over the next 7 years to the State of Florida as well as the huge number of folk predicted to show up today to voice their support or their opposition to what the Governor is wanting to do in order to achieve his goals.
Among them: David Koch's Americans for Prosperity, which is reported to be footing the bill to have activists travel to Florida and rally around Governor Scott's nixing of the the high-speed rail line bullet train between Orlando and Tampa.
So, is there still a chance for the Bullet Train/High Speed Rail Line Here in Florida?
If there are a bunch of activists showing up to rally around the issue of the Florida High Speed Rail Line, then some might argue that the issue isn't dead in the water yet. And that's because it's not.
Yesterday, it was reported in the media that Secretary of the Department of Transportation Roy LaHood extended his deadline by another week for Florida to take the money. (Yes, even though as the Hawaii Reporter points out, Governor Scott has turned it down TWICE.)
However, other news reports are stating that LaHood has already accepted Florida's refusal and is opting to fund the Fresno alternative, sending the money over to California.
Apparently, after the Florida Supreme Court ruled last Friday that the state's governor did have the legal right to decline the offer of federal monies for the rail system, LaHood worked with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson to have a regional rail authority in central Florida compete with California and the other states interested in the Bullet Train Money for the federal funds.
Curious by its absence, there is no official news release on this issue at the Department of Transportation website. There is, in comparison, a recent release on federal funding of a Washington high speed rail line.
So, is there still hope for the Bullet Train here in Florida? Maybe so. Those who believe that this influx of funds would help spark land development here are keeping their fingers crossed.