UPDATE: High-speed rail suit on high court fast trackby 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.