Nelson tosses ‘Hail Mary’ for high-speed railby Dara Kam | March 4th, 2011
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is making a last-ditch effort to keep Florida in the running for a high-speed rail project even after proponents of the Tampa-to-Orlando line say it’s dead.
Nelson said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is considering re-opening the grant process for the $2.4 billion in federal funds awarded to Florida but which Gov. Rick Scott turned down.
The new process could allow the money to then be awarded directly to a new regional rail coalition comprised of local governments including the cities of Tampa, Orlando, Lakeland and Miami.
“If it can’t be done, then we’re done,” Nelson said in statement. “Meantime, there’s an old proverb: fall seven times, stand up eight.”
The Florida Supreme Court ruled this morning that Scott acted within his authority in turning down the funds. And the governor once again told LaHood – who twice extended the deadline for Florida to take the money after Scott rejected it last month – no thanks.