Mr. Sunshine casts more clouds on railby John Kennedy | March 2nd, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott made an early morning stop Wednesday at Fox & Friends’ New York studios and — again– said he’s not interested in $2.4 billion in federal cash for high-speed rail.
“The federal government gives you all this money, and you have to pay for it down the road,” Scott said, adding that he disputed ridership and job-creation statistics touted by rail promoters.
South Florida’s Tri-Rail doesn’t help convince him. Scott said Tri-Rail costs about $65 million annually to operate, but pulls in only about $10 million from fares.
A high-speed train linking Tampa to Orlando, “just doesn’t make sense for the taxpayers,” he concluded.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has asked federal officials for another weeklong extension for the state to reconsider. But Scott doesn’t sound like he needs more time to make up his mind.
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Scott by a pair of Florida state senators who say the governor doesn’t have the constitutional authority to stop the train. But Scott on TV Wednesday said the challenge, “doesn’t make any sense.”
After casting more clouds over high-speed rail, Scott segued easily into Mr. Sunshine – touting his five-city tour with Visit Florida officials wooing tourists to the state. Scott later today is expected to join a charter flight carrying 120 visitors from Chicago to Orlando.
“We’re getting our tourism industry going,” Scott insisted.
The state’s “share a little sunshine tour” is slated to end today. In his brief exchange with Fox host Steve Doocy, Scott acknowledged tourism in the Florida Panhandle was still struggling from last summer’s oil spill, but he also derided focus on the disaster as “sort of a media event.”