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UPDATE: High-speed rail suit on high court fast track

by Dara Kam | March 1st, 2011

UPDATE: Gov. Scott issued this statement about the lawsuit:
“My position remains unchanged, I’ve yet to see any evidence that Florida taxpayers would not be on the hook. Senators Altman and Joyner’s disrespect for taxpayers is clear by their lawsuit trying to force the state to spend this money.”

The Florida Supreme Court gave Gov. Rick Scott until noon tomorrow to respond to a lawsuit filed today by two state senators challenging the governor’s authority to reject $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail project.

Sens. Thad Altman, a Republican from Melbourne, and Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, filed the lawsuit today asking the court to order Scott to accept the money or issue an immediate injunction keeping the White House from giving the money away to other states.

Their lawsuit alleges that Scott exceeded his authority by rejecting the money that his predecessor Charlie Crist had already accepted and that lawmakers had already spent a portion of.

It’s all about the constitutional separation of powers, the bipartisan pair said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“This is not a monarchy. He is not a king,” Joyner, a lawyer, said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson asked U.S. Transportation Department Ray LaHood to wait while the lawsuit proceeds before giving the money away. He’s already given the state two delays to give Scott more time to reconsider.

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10 Responses to “UPDATE: High-speed rail suit on high court fast track”

  1. Truthman Says:

    Trains are cool, especially fast ones. What’s wrong with this governor?

  2. DUILIO Says:

    Gov. Scott’s decision is ill advised and myopic. Scott’s reasoning is that Florida should get that money to use as it pleases, i.e., improve FL ports in light of the potential gain in trade due to the expansion of the Panama Canal. The expansion of the Panama canal has nothing to do with the high speed rail. For one, the rail will create jobs, excitement and energize the economy. This, in turn, will spurr other businesses. Moreover, Scott doesn’t have to beg the Federal Govt. for aid to improve FL’s ports. Why not seek private investors to partnership with the State and improve the ports? What’s that? He hadn’t thought of that? What is he, myopic?

  3. Mike from St. Cloud MN Says:

    I say the party of “no” (short for… nothing)is doing just that “nothing”. If it would have been a Republican president suggeting infrastructure projects then Gov. Scott would have been all for it…the same with Walker in WI. Reagan had to raise taxes twice. Once while Governor and then again as President. Unfortunately, the bulk of those new taxes going to those making %50,000 or less. Time those at the top pick up their fair share. This could use a little “fast tracking” with bi-partisan support. It is obvious the Republican strategy is to stall the economies recovery and then lay it at the feet of the Dems in 2012… banking on the independents short memory of how we got here in the last 30 years. Trickle down economics don’t work. Tax shelters abroad do however. Rather than be taxed to death maintaining 700+ military bases abroad..the money could be better spent on projects here in USA…like high speed rail and other infra-structure projects (ie:urban renewal; energy grid; and the weaning off of fossil fuels).

  4. Joe Says:

    So while we want to beat up Rick Scott for exceeding his Constitutional Authority (which he has), we have a court giving him 1 day to respond to a complaint in writing, which completely violates the normal rules of procedure in a court of law, giving a defendant an opportunity to legally respond to a complaint.
    I hope the Scott lawyers can get all of their legal research complete and a response drafted in 24 hours, or he must be guilty.
    Is this America we are living in?

    Now who is being Constitutionally irresponsible.

    Priceless.

  5. Joe Says:

    @DUILIO
    “the rail will create jobs, excitement and energize the economy”

    Prove it.
    How many jobs? Both Temp and permanent? How many of those will be from Florida, and how many will be from out of state?
    How much of the $2.4 Billion will be spent inside Florida for all job costs?
    How do you value excitement? What is the return on investment in excitement value?

    Maybe we could just pay the NFL $2.4 billion to hold endless superbowls, or $2.4 billion for Mega Rock Concerts to create excitement that would stimulate the economy.
    And since our federal government has now spent $1 trillion to excite and stimulate our economy with nothing to show for it, how do you figure $2.4 billion will do that?

  6. Governor Skeletor Says:

    I represent only freedom loving residents of FloriDUH and am the Emperor of libertarian principles. And nothing represents freedom and libertarianism more than driving on government subsidized highways, while driving cars made by automakers who received gov’t bailout money, and burning oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia. Even better, the oil profits go to my best pals the Koch brothers and BP. Now that’s the American free market at its best. So forget this clean energy and job creating choo choo and let’s get to work FloriDUH style…widening highways to get to/from the pill mills as fast as possbile.

  7. Unreal Says:

    ““This is not a monarchy. He is not a king,” Joyner, a lawyer, said.”

    And neither is the Court. A one day answer period is absurd and an abuse of power by the court. Where are all of the lawyers who would be up in arms if their client was given 1 day to respond to a complaint.

  8. Brett Says:

    He was given one day to respond because there is a two day deadline from the Federal government as to whether or not Florida is going to accept the funds.

    One day should be perfectly sufficient as the Governor should bloody well know before he makes a call like that just exactly what aspect of Florida law imbued him with the legal authority to do so. Otherwise he’s just another semi-informed yayhoo who thinks this is some sort of monarchy.

    Equating a serious capital investment in the future of Florida transportation and business to frivolously holding Super Bowls and rock concerts is simply grasping at straws and, frankly, rather pathetic debating technique. That’s the best you got?

    Here’s another thought: Being a populous state there’s probably a lot of Floridian tax dollars in that $2.4 billion. So, hey, let’s not let those dollars back into this state along with a bunch more. Let’s send those Florida tax dollars off to California or Massachusetts instead. God forbid we better the state of Florida with them.

    Short-sighted, unimaginative, narrow-minded, ill-informed, pathetic. That’s our Governor.

  9. Real Conservative Says:

    The governor has NOT forgotten that Florida voters voted against high speed rail by a margin of 2 to 1. In other words two thirds of votes said NO!

    Ok you two doo doo senators, name the law that says Crist could accept the money (and you did not complain) but Scott cannot accept the money. I thought that was why we elected a Govenor. Maybe we should do away with the govenor and just VOTE on everything! You doo doo’s better wake up.

  10. Real Conservative Says:

    Correction:

    The governor has NOT forgotten that Florida voters voted against high speed rail by a margin of 2 to 1. In other words two thirds of voters said NO!

    Ok you two doo doo senators, name the law that says Crist could accept the money (and you did not complain) but Scott cannot decline the money. I thought that was why we elected a Govenor. Maybe we should do away with the govenor and just VOTE on everything! You doo doo’s better wake up.

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