IS THIS REALLY WHAT FLORIDA HAD IN MIND?…. As part of the economic stimulus, the federal government was prepared to spend nearly $1 billion on a high-speed-rail corridor linking Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin. It was poised to be a boon to job creation and economic development in the state — right up until Gov.-elect Scott Walker (R) forced Wisconsin to give the money back.
Fine, federal officials said, we’ll redirect those funds to other high-speed-rail projects elsewhere. Florida, in particular, was poised to be one of the big winners from Wisconsin’s inexplicable desire to shoot itself in the foot.
As it turns out, though, Florida is also about to swear in a right-wing governor, and he, too, may turn down the funds, the jobs, the economic development, and the infrastructure investment.
The current plan is to create a $2.6 billion high-speed project linking Orlando and Tampa, and in time, Orlando and Miami. Nearly every penny would be funded by the federal government — and the remaining costs would be covered by private companies vying for contracts to run the system.
Could Rick Scott, who’s all about getting people back to work, manage to kill the planned Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail line and the 24,000 jobs it would bring Florida?
The answer’s yes, if, in the end, the governor-elect cares more about partisan politics than an economic opportunity that anyone with his supposed business savvy would be daft to resist.
Regrettably, Mr. Scott’s sending signals that to him, politics may well be more important than doing what’s clearly in the best interests of Florida. How unfortunate for the state, which needs the stimulative, potentially transformative high-speed line.
And how ironic for someone who cast himself as a political outsider in his run for governor.
The Orlando Sentinel‘s editorial board tried to come up with a coherent explanation for Scott’s position, but the best it could do is (a) the incoming governor irrational partisanship places Obama hatred above Florida’s needs; and (b) he hopes to impress the GOP’s right-wing base, even if it costs Florida 24,000 jobs.
Is this really what Floridians had in mind on Nov. 2?