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Tampa tea party activists tell Scott ‘no’ on hi-speed rail, say he didn’t cut enough from budget

by Dara Kam | February 10th, 2011

Tampa tea party activists Karen Jaroch, left, and Sharon Calvert

Tampa tea party activists Sharon Calvert and Karen Jaroch got a 30-minute meeting with Gov. Rick Scott today to tell him about their opposition to the state’s plans for high-speed rail.

The pair, who also attended a tea party rally in Eustis on Monday where Scott rolled out his first-ever budget, said the high-speed rail project is symbolic of wasteful government spending of taxpayers’ money. The federal government has given Florida $2.4 billion for the Tampa-Orlando project, which is expected to cost at least $2.6 billion.

That’s not included cost overruns typical of such projects, the tea partiers pointed out.

“We’ve got to stop the spending,” Calvert told reporters after the meeting with Scott.

As to Scott’s budget, in which he claims to have cut $4.62 billion but in reality reduced spending by closer to $3 billion, the tea partiers were relatively unimpressed.

“We don’t think it went far enough,” Janoch said.

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47 Responses to “Tampa tea party activists tell Scott ‘no’ on hi-speed rail, say he didn’t cut enough from budget”

  1. Criminal in charge Says:

    This is the biggest scam this state has
    ever seen.That is why the biggest scammer did not cut it!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ScottyB Says:

    And there’s no money to operate and maintain a high speed train. Don’t do it.

  3. dounome Says:

    The State reluctantly agreed to the train because most of the money would come from the Federal Government. If you stop it, you are stopping some good paying construction jobs coming to this state. Who are Calvert and Jaroch? Are they high paid Representatives that don’t need a job?

  4. Biill Neubauer Says:

    The advocates of the high-speed rail system point to Europe and Japan, where there is actually enough congestion to make one practical. We do not have enough passengers in Florida. Look at Tri-Rail and Palm Tran. After years of operation, they are still screaming for a tax source instead of requiring passengers to meet the cost of operation. The news report does not mention Scott’s reaction to the plea to nix the train. Let’s hope that the governor agrees.

  5. BM Says:

    Dounome where does the Federal Government get the money? Taxpayers of course! Oh wait Federal government is $14.3 trillion in debt and is running a $1.5 trillion deficit. That must mean they are borrowing the money from China for a train we do not need.

    Calvert and Jaroch seem to be citizens of this state and thus have every right to express their opinions and present their case.

  6. Tea Party Is Right Says:

    This is wasteful government spending at its worst!! I’m glad Gov Scott is heeding the Tea Party. Building unnecessary “infrastructure” is a no-no.

  7. Eric Says:

    Yea, let’s borrow another $2.4 Billion from the Chinese and build a train that we don’t need!

    We can also borrow the $5 Billion in overrun costs. ( actually, these often go 4X over estimated cost, but let’s be conservative!)

    Who’ll even notice a few more Billion on top of the $15 TRILLION we already can’t pay back.

    My God! WHEN do we stop spending money that we don’t have?

  8. sid dinerstein Says:


    After eight years as Chairman of the PalmTran Services Board I learned this:

    Every round trip on TriRail costs the taxpayers $120.00 – EVERY time.

    SunRail will cost much more.


  9. Smell the Coffee Says:

    Where do we think this ‘Federal’ money comes from? Our national debt has doubled since 2005. The government has borrowed more money in the past five years than in the entire history of the nation. If the US DOUBLED it’s Income and Corporate taxes right now, we still wouldn’t have a balanced budget! Since the Chinese stopped buying our Treasury notes, the FED is now the biggest buyer…using freshly printed QE2 money.
    It should be obvious that this isn’t sustainable!

  10. Coffee Drinking Republican Says:

    Just an observation. Back in the late ’90s early ’00s the Republican legislators (and Jeb) backed high speed rail and the Democrat legislators in Tallahassee opposed it. I guess those who stand to profit from this did not donate to the right campaigns this year. Just remember, regardless of the letter next to the name (R,D,TP) they are all against us and out for themselves. The Tea partiers are delusional if they think that politicians are listening to them and are in their corner. You are just being duped by empty promises and used for votes. Wake up!

  11. colobok Says:

    Hey, rail haters, you don’t even know the difference between TriRail, SunRail and HSR. Roundtrip on TriRail costs taxpayers $120.00??? What are you smoking? Amtrak ticket from Tampa to New York costs less.
    What are these stupid guys Sharon Calvert and Karen Jaroch trying to achieve? They can’t move $2.4B for something else, these funds are allocated by Federals for HSR. So if Scott rejects money – they will go to another state. So do Sharon Calvert and Karen Jaroch lobby another state’s interest? That can explain this, but we don’t want to lose these money in favor to another state.

  12. xxxx Says:

    Karen and Sharon look like good little housewives and they should stick to it. Hey ScottieB the proposers that will build it have to pay the operating costs.
    Maybe you should join the housewives that have no business discussing this issue for some tea!

    Florida needs HSR for job creation period.

  13. sid dinerstein Says:

    Dear Colobok:

    That’s the point.
    The TriRail rider pays about $5.00 for a roundtrip. The taxpayers then kick in an ADDITIONAL $120.00 for each and every round trip.
    SunRail will be worse.
    If you want rail for job creation just give the “builders” pay checks until the money runs out. But don’t build anything. That way we won’t be on the hook for hundreds of millions of annual taxpayer subsidies for the operating deficits.



  14. Cynical in Delray Says:

    Wasn’t the rail project a Florida constitutional amendment? If so, do these people believe the constitution should be ignored….I guess so, just like Jeb wanted to use his devious ways to circumvent the class size amendment.

  15. Fedup again Says:

    The largest commuter line in US, that would be coming out of New York, reported last week they are in over their heads. They can use the 2 billion to repair their lines and trains. It has been proven that this Sun Rail will never pay for itself in ridership. They just want it, like the kid wants a lollipop. We need real jobs that will be here come 2021 not construction jobs that will probably bring the labor from outside Fl. Rail for Florida? NO NO NO

  16. Paul, Esq Says:

    The timing is not right for such a mamouth earmark project, but hopefully in the future, as our society become more technologically smarter the timing will be right. I am a big supporter of the dedicated people in the Tea Party and 912 groups; however, most, if not all of them have never managed a multi-million dollar (yet multi-billion dollars) budget. Unfortunately, when some people gain what they believe is political power, they start to let their egos get in the way of rational thinking. Some people need to get off of single issue matters and start to educate themselves on the big picture. Privates do not make General until they have gone through the ranks and have demonstrated that they are combat veterans..Nuff said.

  17. TheBigEasy Says:

    If and when the time comes that such a project is financially viable private money will be glad build it. Also, all of you supporters of these boondoggles, where in the Constitution does it provide for the Government to spend tax money for transportation?

  18. TheBigEasy Says:

    If and when the time comes that such a project is financially viable private money will be glad to build it. Also, all of you supporters of these boondoggles, where in the Constitution does it provide for the Government to spend tax money for transportation?

  19. da_truth Says:

    If these tea party dolts were around in the 1950′s, they would have opposed federal spending on the Interstate highway system and airports.




    Oho and Wisconsin turned down Federal rail money because the temporary job creation was insignificant compared to the millions state taxpayers would pay each year to keep the trains running.

    All tax dollars should be spent much more effectively. This is a waste and fraud meant to push an agenda and buy votes..and create costly white elephants to be subsidized forever. Read here:

    By Jonathan Weisman
    As gubernatorial candidates, Republicans Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio campaigned hard against federal stimulus money for high-speed rail projects in their states, dismissing it as useless big-government spending that would cost their states much more in the long run than the job gains they’d see in the short run.

    Both men won. Today, they faced the consequences.

    The Department of Transportation yanked $1.2 billion from Wisconsin and Ohio high-speed rail efforts and redirected it to other states that want to move forward, especially California, which got half that money, $624 million. Unlike the voters of those two Midwestern states, Californians elected a Democrat, Jerry Brown, as their next governor.

    White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was unapologetic.

    “Both gubernatorial candidates, now governors-elect, told us they weren’t going to spend that money as the law is written,” he said. “And if grants that are obligated to places that aren’t going to use them as the law intends, then we will give that money to places that will use it as the law intends.”

    Mr. Walker had said the $810 million allocated to Wisconsin should be reallocated to other infrastructure projects in his state. The high-speed rail link from Milwaukee to Madison would have given his state just 55 permanent jobs once it was built, but it cost $15 million a year to run it.

    “Wisconsin taxpayers were victorious today in defeating this project,” he said in a statement today. “The last election showed that Wisconsinites oppose runaway government spending. The Madison to Milwaukee train line is dead.”

  22. Dennis Hand Says:

    The High-Speed Rail project is a total waste of tax dollars. It doesn’t matter if its coming from state coffers or from the feds. There are far better things that could be done with the massive amount of money that is being committed to this project, such as give it back to the people.

    The High-Speed Rail project will only be a money loosing proposition in the long run as the local citizens have to pony up every year to cover operating cost of an operation that does not cover cost, much less make a profit.

    Send the $2.4 billion back to D.C. with a no thank you note.

  23. bob jason Says:

    Federal dollars come from Floridians as federal taxpayers. To go ahead with this project does not only leave Floridians on the hook as federal taxpayers but also as state taxpayers as this train won’t pay for itself through ridership and we will be paying the salaries, healthcare benefits and pensions of the state workers required to run it. The short-term gains in construction jobs isn’t worth the long term costs. It’s not the government’s job and federal money doesn’t come from some secret Obama stash.

  24. Reece Shell Says:

    The liberals want to build rail systems because they want people out of their cars.We do not need rail we do not have the money for rail and most of us do not want rail!Rick Scott, tell obama No,we are not wasting money on rail in Florida

  25. 1Maryann Says:

    We don’t have the level of congestion needed to make people want to use HSR, nor do we have the infrastructure in place in the cities it will service. So you leave your car at the rail station and take the train. How do you get where you’re going when you reach your destination? We aren’t NYC, where there is a bus or subway station every few blocks.
    To the person who quoted Amtrak as being less expensive–Amtrak has lost money every single year and always will. The cost is made up in tax dollars. I’d like to shut them down, too. It’s merely a perk for politicians in the NE corridor to have an alternative means of getting home and avoiding crowded airports.

  26. Tad MacKie Says:

    Rick made it pretty clear that the State of Florida was not going to take any more money from the Feds… that makes the HSR a DOA thing… GOOD! Now… Let’s get all the Fla Reps, Marco and Nelson to start working so that we don’t have to send so much to the Feds in the first place. (good luck with Nelson)

  27. MrKeith Says:

    The Golden Age of Railroads ended in 1950. Trains have been a money loser ever since. Borrowing to build a low value boondoogle KILLS JOBS!

    A new dawn for automobiles and highways because of wireless, GPS, and computerchips is upon us.

    Americans will never embrace transportation on a line, when automobiles go from point to point.

  28. da_truth Says:

    Roads don’t pay for themselves. Never have and never will. Wisconsin gov’s decision to turn down rail $ was the biggest joke, b/c it drove away a train manufacturer who was going to set up its U.S. plant there. Aren’t these new GOP governors supposed to be all about jobs? Ha!

  29. David Smith Says:

    I am all for HSR between Tampa and Orlando; this project will create jobs, plenty of them, reduce traffic, encourage visitors to both cities, and help those who commute every day between the two cities.

    Most major countries of this world are active train users and supporters. Just when do you think gasoline will be over $5 a gallon?

  30. charley Hamilton Says:

    With the advent of the steam engine, the railroads have needed government subsidies to be able to exist. Conrail is a classic example. Don’t these folks realize that in order to get to the high speed transit system you will either have to drive and park or take a cab. what happens at the end of the line. more cabs or car rentals. i don’t believe that ridership will be sufficient to keep this thing operating without large outlays of tax dollars to support it. Most will just drive their own automobiles, etc. to and from.

  31. colobok Says:

    Dear sid dinerstein, you don’t even know the difference between SunRail and HSR. SunRail is proposed commuter train in Orlando funded partially by State, HSR is High Speed Rail from Orlando to Tampa, funded mostly by Federals and most likely by private companies.
    You are talking a complete nonsense about $120 tickets for TriRail, that would make it 120/5 = 2400% subsidized when most expensive Amtrak is only 50% subsidized. Please stop telling the lies here!
    And please stop crying that nobody rides trains. In places where trains go regularly and have great service more people ride trains than planes or buses.

    harley, a cab a rental car is not needed when you go to Orlando airport or Disney World or Miami airport/cruise port or Tampa downtown.

  32. sid dinerstein Says:


    the numbers speak for themselves.
    The average round trip on TriRail costs about $125.00 of which the passenger pays about $5.00.
    It sounds rediculous but it is true.
    Do what I did. Get their budget and run the numbers.


  33. Wanda Stephan Says:

    We certainly DO NOT need a high speed train. So few folks would use it, and it is only a waste of our much needed tax dollars. Keep cutting, Gov.

  34. colobok Says:

    sid dinerstein, you the BIG LYER!
    I did a quick google search and found that you exaggerated numbers 10 times!!!

    From this article:

    “Tuesday at a Palm Beach County Commission workshop on transportation, County Engineer George Webb told commissioners the average cost per trip on Tri-Rail is $12. Fares recover only $2.25 cents, or between 18 and 19 percent.”

    So it is $12, not $125. What is the purpose of your lies? You simply don’t like trains?

  35. colobok Says:

    Wanda Stephan, please don’t talk for other people. Tri Rail has 4 millions riders per year and this is not the best train. HSR, especially Tampa-Miami route will be much more popular.
    Virginia has launched a new Amtrak train the last year and they also had a lot of talks about it, but the ridership exceeded expectations 3 times!
    And HSR is not supposed be funded with State money, so what are we discussing here?

  36. sid dinerstein Says:


    Sorry I wasn’t at the meeting.
    The usual way government officials hide their costs is to exclude all capital expenses. I did the math and my numbers are the accurate ones.


  37. Eric Says:

    Please allow me to do the math for you.
    Per SFRTA 2010 figures, they have annual capital costs of about $300 million per year. They also have annual operational costs of about $140 million per year. Thus the TOTAL ANNUAL COST is $440 million. Fares contribute about $42 million. The remaining $398 million comes from TAXPAYERS! YEAR after YEAR after YEAR. That’s why we can’t afford this train. We’re BROKE!

  38. colobok Says:

    1. I don’t know what you included into $300 million per year and what is your source. I have huge doubts about this number.
    Capital costs are normally costs for the construction, purchasing the land, etc. But this system is already built many years ago, so what annual capital costs are you talking about?
    2. HSR has nothing common with TriRail. HSR is proposed to built by the private company and that company will be responsible for financial support of the system, not the State. So what is your problem with HSR?
    3. Please calculate the capital and operational costs for the highway near your home. It has $0 income year and after year, but billions in taxpayers subsidies. So please STOP BUILDING HIGHWAYS! Billions for highways come from TAXPAYERS!

  39. The End Says:

    “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t understand, no explanation is possible”

  40. Carla (FlDistrict3) Says:

    We do not need a rail system; least of all now. This should be a simple answer for just about any person who has ever written a budget, ran a home and/or held a job. C’mon folks!

  41. OrlandoBuryedinillegals Says:

    They insist pushing the rail so they can shuttle illegals all around Florida to keep them working for low wages while the tax payer picks up the bill for food stamps, healthcare and low income housing. They get the jobs we get the bills.

  42. Richard Peterson Says:

    They should thank scott not start a tea party agains the high speed rail, Not every one owns a car, people rely on Greyhound bus to travel places which is slower than driving, With high speed rail, people can get to places 3 times faster than greyhound line for the same price. Today, newer car is starting at $12,000 but in 30 years from now, new car will start at $120,000 which would make people take greyhound bus than driving so here what tells me, We Need high speed rail.

  43. Matt L. Says:

    I have never seen such short-sightedness and self-loathing amongst a group of people as I have seen in these comments.

    The U.S. Presently operates one high speed rail line: Amtrak’s Acela. And that one line turns a profit. That’s right. Amtrak’s Acela line turns a profit, and is routinely overbooked. And lo and behold, ridership studies suggest that the heavy tourist industry in Florida will permit this line to operate well in the black. No wonder private companies are lining up to invest.

    The amount of money for this line? $2.4 billion, or about what we spend on the Pentagon each and every day, excluding the overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But no one complains about that level of spending that dwarfs the cost of this rail line.

    I am so thankful people commenting here weren’t in America in the 1950′s, or else the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System would never have been built over bleating whines of it “costing too much”.

    And despite costing hundreds of billions, the return on investment has been extraordinary, boosting the GDP of the United States immeasurably.

    Gas is running out. The population is booming. It’s soon going to cost $5/gal, and the traffic will become more and more congested. Airfares skyrocket. The airlines may be private companies, but the airports were built exclusively with taxpayer dollars. The airlines don’t want to be burdened with these short haul routes.

    So the choice is clear: take the risk and invest in the future. Or else some other state will reap the benefit of Florida’s folly, as the Federal tax dollars are already allocated.

    I run a private business. You have to spend money to make money. I am loathe to think of some of the people commenting here in the business world.

  44. Nick Knight Says:

    What a shock! Tea Baggers only support things that blow people up. These knuckle draggers are unable to see past their immediate needs.

  45. Chris Says:

    Do the people complaining about high speed rail not making any money realize that the interstate and local roads are the same exact way? I’d support construction of high speed rail in the US but I doubt we would do it right.

  46. Knight21st Says:

    So Gas prices will continue to go up and we citizens will continue living in this backwards country where I-4 will continue to have traffic jams. So long 21st century the 20th century idiots will not let us advance. If these people are serious about budgets GO AFTER THAT 1 TRILLION DOLLAR a year expense that is called the military.

  47. Richard Peterson Says:

    Well FvCK you Sharon Calvert and Karen Jaroch for Tea parting Rick scott to kill this project, there will be 24,000 people either dieing on the street or in prison because he or she can’t get on the shovel ready job, and traffic and Gas prices is going to go up and this will kill Florida. you Chicken!!!

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