Scott had authority to axe high-speed rail, Supremes rule; train likely deadby Dara Kam | March 4th, 2011
Two senators who challenged Gov. Rick Scott’s authority to kill a high-speed rail project failed to make their case, the Florida Supreme Court ruled today.
And Scott reiterated his rejection of $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for the project this morning in a telephone call with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, likely meaning the money will go to other states.
“The Governor is gratified that the court provided a clear and unanimous decision, he is now focused on moving forward with infrastructure projects that create long-term jobs and turn Florida’s economy around. He also spoke with US DOT Secretary LaHood this morning and informed him that Florida will focus on other infrastructure projects and will not move forward with any federal high speed rail plan,” Scott’s spokesman Brian Burgess said in a statement.
Sens. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, sued Scott for rejecting $2.4 billion in federal funds for the Tampa-to-Orlando project. They argued he violated the constitutional separation of powers by effectively overriding the legislature’s order that the the state create the high-speed rail system.
The court, which heard oral arguments on the fast-tracked case yesterday, rejected their argument in a one-paragraph unanimous ruling issued this morning.
“Based on the limited record before the Court and a review of the federal and state law relied on by the parties, the Court has determined that the petitioners have not clearly demonstrated entitlement to quo warranto, mandamus, or any other relief. Accordingly, the emergency petition is hereby denied,” the judges ordered.