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Scott had authority to axe high-speed rail, Supremes rule; train likely dead

by 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.

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40 Responses to “Scott had authority to axe high-speed rail, Supremes rule; train likely dead”

  1. AJLind Says:

    One word here: “WINNING!”

  2. foolish Says:

    democrat= forward thinking repub= old fashion.old technology.old boy network.pullution.overcrowded roads. no new solutions. and no new jobs. nuff said

  3. Sid Says:

    Congratulations, Governor Scott.
    You just won one for the people.

  4. Conflicting message Says:

    I am so glad the Governor killed this… he was right, we as taxpayers here in Florida can’t afford projects like this…

    Oh wait, we still have to pay for it, just not get the benefits…

    Oh that’s great…

  5. steve Says:

    For a state that relies on tourism dollars to turn down a project that allows people to travel to and in Florida much easier is…..insanity!

  6. common sense Says:

    Gov. O’Malley of Maryland is already chomping at the bit for this money to improve his state’s rail infrastructure and investment in jobs. Infrastructure = Jobs, Governor Peabrain doesn’t understand this. Maryland’s unemployment rate is 4.9% lower than Flori-duh’s.

  7. David Says:

    Let’s see … after NASA’s shuttle program shuts down, central Florida will lose about 7000 jobs, if I remember correctly. If Gov. Skeletor had accepted the money for high-speed rail, that would have been a good place for all of those out-of-work engineers to find jobs, build for the future, reduce congestion on the roads, and reduce emissions. The gov promised 700,000 new jobs. Guess he meant 700,000 ditch diggers or burger flippers.

  8. Conflicting message Says:

    Another observation… Governor turned down the money (for the fourth time) before the Supreme Court issued its ruling…

    Dara – get to work!

  9. jimbo Says:

    @common sense
    You need to use some common sense. Maryland is not only a fraction the size of Florida but its main industry is in support of DC one the most thriving cities in the country for obvious reasons.

    Just what kind of jobs do you think would be created by the rail job? Ditchdiggers. Because all of the materials would be purchased out of state as well as all of the skilled project managers.
    I guess we should be looking way down the road at all those high paying jobs for ticket takers and train station custodians.

  10. I don't get Liberals Says:

    First, I’m no fan of Scott’s, but this rejection was a step in the right direction. Scott’s beef is that taxpayers will have to overcome any shortfalls after the thing is built. To date, a few PRIVATE companies such as Virgin, Siemens and Hyundai wanted to get onboard after it was finished..I wonder why they won’t put their intentions in writing? Why is it liberals only want to “PRIVATIZE” something after its finished? Why does the government continue to socialize debt and privatize profits, isn’t this want you liberals are always screaming about, why is this any different? Sure the train will create jobs initially but after its completion where do those jobs go?

    If private industry wants a cut of a pie, let Disney build the damn thing, they’re the ones who are going to profit the most..last I checked they aren’t exactly hurting for dollars.

    I for one would like to keep my paycheck state income tax free. Taking a huge risk like a train that travels a whopping 87 miles between 2 cities you can drive in less than an hour is just a high risk Scott thinks we can’t afford. I happen to agree.

  11. BM Says:

    I want to know how Paula Dockery and Thad Altman are enjoying their island paradise? Out there all alone, nothing to do but sit in their offices and enjoy the silence.

    Come to think of it, they have not said a word since the decision. I guess they have no cell service on that island.

  12. Pat Says:

    Way to go RICK! This is what we voted you in to do. Cut the FAT out of the budget. I could not agree with you more. The feds will pay to build it and we will have to pay to keep it running when it is losing money. Just like Tri-Rail….

  13. Another pissed off and embarassed Floridian Says:

    I could care less which side of the political battle field this guy is associated with; I’m more outraged that this guy is about to ruin the state for the common man. People have been following blinding behind political parties for far too long. No one is completely right or wrong, but the idea of limiting potential profits is a definite turn in the wrong direction. I would not I am a fan of Scott, but I wasn’t much a fan of the other candidate either. We need an innovator; not an Obama or Bush, but a true man who can unite our soon to be broke state.

  14. rjr Says:

    It doesn’t matter let it go Florida will continues to offer unprecedented jobs as usual. Florida will never measure up with a criminal at the helm. If you think for one moment that Florida will draw jobs that pay livable wages you have rocks in your head. Scott voters either are stupid or a criminal themselves either way they are imbeciles and are the inequivalent of a baloney sandwich.

  15. Name That Tune Says:

    C’mon, all you environmentalists and transit lovers, sing along. “I Love to Drive, I-95!!!”

  16. Larry Says:

    While I am a railroad engineer, I am against the project. The only benefit of the rail project other than creating a lot of mostly temporary jobs is that it would only benefit a couple places in the state. And for Steve, it would not help people get to the state or get around the state other than a couple locations. Besides that, I haven’t heard much talk about how do you go anywhere without taking a cab, bus or renting a vehicle when you get there. So much for all the hype about how great it is for the state. So here might be a the thought of a tourist. “I think I will fly into (Tampa or Orlando) and then pay to take a train to the other town at added expense and in convenience. I really want to stimulte the local economy while I am there by spending money on things I don’t need. And I don’t mind having to haul my luggage with me as I ride the train” So, how much does anyone really think we would benefit from that project? You already know my opinion.

  17. common sense Says:

    The entire Northeast Corridor (not just Maryland), serviced by a lot of rail transit, including the Acela High Speed Rail has an average unemployment rate of 8.2%, thats still 3.8% lower than Florida’s! This money will go to them, Florida will miss out and continue to decline. Investment = Jobs. If we want to save a few billion, why dont we look at cutting a couple of warplanes from the Pentagon’s budget? Anyone thought of that?

  18. Carol Says:

    Wonderful! Finally a man who won’t grab the money and leave the taxpayers will a boondoggle down the road, years after he’s left office. I heard two people arguing on this issue, and the one who was for it, when asked if he’d thought about the ramifications, said ‘Hell no. I don’t care. I’m 80 years old. I won’t be here.’ Thanks Governor Scott. You did the right thing. Keep up the good work.

  19. JohnMo Says:

    Congratulations Governor Scott on your win in the State Supreme Court.

    Thank you for holding the line on these buffoons that would put this state
    in debt to the Obamas’ administration of fools.
    This victory for the Florida taxpayer will be remembered; as well the antics of Thad Altman (RINO) and Bill Nelson in 2012.
    I am a recently retired electrical engineer with 30 years in the electronics industry.
    I will be active in the 2012 elections in Brevard County with the agenda getting the above named politicians fired. After talking to some of my neighbors; I think these two need to contact Morgan and Morgan for post election jobs. They can add to that companies growing list of “fools”.

    I heard that now a consortium wants to go at this project without public funds.
    I re-iterate please make sure there is a surety bond or insurance for clean up or shut down etc. if they bail out or go broke. ‘Eminent Domain” should Not be allowed as this would lead to a land grab by the consortium to offset their losses.

    Again I thank you for holding tough on this issue.

  20. JohnMo Says:

    Same old rant from you.
    You are an idiot!!
    Nuff Said!

  21. common sense Says:

    @Rail Debacle – Whoa, crazy racist anti-semetic got through the PBPost censors and (shock) hes a Scott supporter.
    @JohnMo – Must be nice to have your head so buried in Brevard County sand you cant see daylight. Look around you. Republicans have controlled Florida for 13 years and have given us nothing but sky high unemployment, unregulated booms and busts, speculation, congested roads, crime and terrible schools. When are people going to wake up and and realize we are being taken in the wrong direction.
    As for the Obama Administration, they have done nothing other than rescue an unregulated banking industry from killing itself with greed, saved the US Auto Industry, slowly extracted use from a completely pointless war that cost BILLIONS and BILLIONS, broadened access to health care and stabilized the unemployment rate (at least in more progressive states)

  22. theGOPrLIARS Says:

    You know,I also REMEMBER the Fl. Supreme Court saying : ‘ COUNT ALL THE VOTES ” in 2000.
    But the Supreme ‘ Kangaroo ‘ Court said to the CITIZENS of this country ? :
    So WHY? does this comes a suprise?
    Keep Voting AGAINST your Best Interest! Keep Voting for the republiCON(job) party.

    And YOU will keep REAPING what YOU Sow !
    I mean you really have to hand it to the Gangsters Only Party.
    Since Regan,they have Dumbded this country so much ?
    The White Trailer Park trash,(among Many Others),are CONVINCED that ANY help from the Federal Goverment,that CREATES JOBS !

    YOU Freakin ‘ Frackin ‘ Morons !!
    That it is Communism & Socialism ?
    Even though IT’S OUR TAX DOLLARS !
    YOU @ss backward Country F*^KS !
    The Dumbing Down of America is almost COMPLETE !

    GOOD LUCK to US ALL !!

  23. Great Tea Day Says:

    Great job, Gov!! We love you.

    Next, let’s end the burdensum unnecessary regulations on industries, such as insurance and utilities. Let the free market do it’s magic, and bring sunshine back to Florida.

    You’re our hero!!

  24. No Vision for the Future Says:

    Governor Gollum strikes again.

    Loves taking federal money when it lines his pockets, but anything else is a “boondoggle”….

    I say we stop building highways, since they are “BOONDOGGLES” that cost the taxpayer BILLIONS to maintain. If roads are such a good idea, a PRIVATE company should build them, and everyone should be charged per mile driven!

  25. common sense Says:

    “Let the free market do it’s magic, and bring sunshine back to Florida.”

    Actually all those empty condos that the free market “magically” created are blocking out the sun.

  26. JohnMo Says:

    @common sense
    Perhaps you are in search of some:
    As far as my head in the sand is concerned; I believe you have yours so far up your butt that when standing tall you are eyes on with a short legged beagle.
    My last comment just made me feel good but was not actually relevant to anything.
    That being said lets’ move on.

    Lets’ see unregulated booms’ would that be the housing industry you are alluding too. Should I recommend you look at the site that shows Republican administration (Bush) in 2006 telling the house (Democratically controlled house) that Fannie may etc. are in trouble. However your leftwing buddy (Barney Franks) saying “Why fix what isn’t broken?”
    And can we ever forget that brilliant remark from Pelosi” Lets’ pass this thing so we can read it!”
    I could move on with other inputs where construction and other types of jobs were stopped by tree huggers, environmentalists etal. using the general comment “Not in my
    Backyard” or “it will hurt the environment”. Can’t blame that on Repubs.
    Like all liberals you are trying to obfuscate the truth with revisionist history and are not worth any more of my time.
    Nuff Said

  27. no unions Says:

    Well done Sir. I’m very impressed with Mr. Scott thus far.

  28. linda Says:

    Our Washington government is scrambling to keep from shutting down because we are broke and yet they want to dole money out for projects like this. Someone has to say the buck stops here and start thinking rationally. Sadly, it only will serve few commuters and won’t save gas. Also, some of the oil producing nations get AID from US…why????? Why do we have to provide all this aid to countries that have their own money while our deep pockets have holes in them?

  29. common sense Says:

    JohnMo – you are an idiot. The Congress was controlled by the GOP for all of 2006. The Democrats were not sworn in until January 2007.

  30. Hook, Line, and Sinker Says:

    Hey Benacquisto and Bogdanoff:

    Since you used a phony excuse of Scott exceeding his authority and all that separation of powers yada yada for supporting high speed rail, will you now change your minds and support the people who elected you and oppose the rail?

    The RINO is one of the most DANGEROUS animals in the world. They just unexpectedly turn on you!

  31. JohnMo Says:

    @common sense
    Not only are you a left wing tool you are mathematically challenged’
    I quote from:

    “When US Representative Barney Frank spoke in a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill seven years ago, he did not imagine that his words would eventually haunt a reelection bid.

    The issue that day in 2003 was whether mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally strong. Frank declared with his trademark confidence that they were, accusing critics and regulators of exaggerating threats to Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial integrity. And, the Massachusetts Democrat maintained, “even if there were problems, the federal government doesn’t bail them out.”

    Now, it’s clear he was wrong on both points…

    Here’s the thing. Frank wasn’t wrong. He was lying.
    Frank claims that he “missed” the warning signs with Fannie and Freddie because he was wearing “ideological blinders,” which was just his lame attempt to blame Republicans. But we all know he didn’t miss them. He just chose to ignore them. ”

    End of quote
    As before libs like you like revisionist history.
    By the way do you want the O’reilly site that his this bumpkin(Franks) actually spouting this?
    You probably know the site already.
    So Sad; too bad but yes you are a morom!

  32. Great Tea Day Says:

    It’s such a wonderful day, when our Florida Governor does the RIGHT thing. We are truly blessed! Finally, a man we can trust!

    As a businesswoman, I can’t wait to hear his forthcoming plans for eliminating all the needless bureaucrat regulation. I’m sure he’ll consult with we Tea Partiers again.

    I’m just so proud to call myself a Floridian today!

  33. Bob Says:

    I guess Scott is starting his job creation efforts in the negative. Minus 24,000 before we even hit April- Great work.

  34. Dirk Says:

    The Chinese are already charging interest on the high speed rail money,please won’t somebody take this tainted money? Great job Mr. Scott for seeing the big picture

  35. Conflicting message Says:

    Once again, all the posts supporting the Gov’s actions… I agree, but guess what, we are still on the hook to pay for it…

    I must tell you, I feel great about it…

  36. same ol same ol Says:

    More factual information about this typically-corrupt, governmental, could-have-been-a-major-boondoggle costing honest Florida taxpayers billions in the long-run:



  37. JK Says:

    YES! A victory for common sense!!!

  38. Biill Neubauer Says:

    1. I am fascinated by the Supreme Court. It takes them weeks/months (years?) to get around to other cases but could handle this case in a day or two. All this talk about crowded dockets is obviously just a pitch for expansion money.
    2. It was a boondoggle. A car is cheaper on a short run, and planes have more flexible schedules. It was a loser all the way.
    3. I haven’t figured out yet where the money was coming from. Obama said the nation is broke. Congress has not passed a budget. What makes anybody think that the train money is actually available? I’m having a hard time finding anybody who has thought this plan through.
    Good for Scott. We needed a fresh-private industry flavor in the mansion, and Scott is delivering what we elected him for–enough of this “We always did it that way!”

  39. jaded Says:

    @ jimbo as well as others. My son is an engineer with the company which had the contract for this job (HNTB) and had already collected funds, hired skilled people, and started work on this project. People in their Orlando office will be getting laid off. We will be losing PRIVATE sector jobs, and they are in this state. Also, a lot of people who work construction are not “ditch diggers”! This state relies on tourism instead of a state income tax. Tourists, not commuters would use it. Get real.

  40. Guy Says:

    For those of you who can’t see past the end of your nose, please let me help. I understand that many of you do not agree with the federal government spending money while they are broke. I get that, I really do, but please understand in return that turning down this money was a huge loss for FL. It is not like since the money was turned down the feds are going to use it to pay down debt instead. They are still going to spend that money, only now it will be in another states and will benefit them instead of us. How is that a win for anyone in the state? Think about it for yourself a minute.

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