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Scott responds to rail lawsuit, calls senators sore losers

by Dara Kam | March 2nd, 2011

A lawsuit filed by two senators challenging Gov. Rick Scott‘s authority to reject $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail project “is based on mischaracterizations and omissions of fact,” the governor’s lawyers wrote in a response filed shortly before noon today.

Scott scolds Sens. Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, and Thad Altman, a Rockledge Republican, for overstepping their bounds by asking the court to force Scott to accept the funds even though Senate President Mike Haridopolos has vowed not to spend any money on the project this year. In the response, Scott insists he will veto any appropriations for the project should they make it into the budget.

In the opening line of Scott’s 29-page response, the governor’s legal team call Joyner and Altman “State Senators whose policy preferences have not prevailed in the political process” and frequently disparage the Tampa-to-Orlando rail project that would eventually link to Miami.

“Fortunately for the taxpayers of Florida, nothing in Florida law compels the Governor or the (Florida Rail Enterprise) to pour millions of dollars into a black hole during the historic fiscal crisis with which the State is presently grappling,” Scott’s general counsel Charles Trippe wrote.

Altman and Joyner alleged that Scott could not reject the funds because lawmakers had already appropriated a portion of it – $130.8 million – and his predecessor Charlie Crist already accepted it.

But Scott disputed that in today’s response, saying the legislature has not yet earmarked the $2.4 billion.

And the senators ignore the fact that U.S. Transportation Department officials require that “Scott express unqualified support for high-speed rail” – something he says he won’t do – before handing over the money.

Plus, the lawsuit asking the court to order Scott to take the money goes too far, Trippe wrote.

The Court would have to “(i) order the Legislature to appropriate $2.27 billion to high-speed rail; (ii) order Governor Scott not to veto such an appropriation; (iii) order the Legislature to override any such veto if it occurred; and (iv) either order Secretary LaHood to grant federal funds regardless of Governor Scott’s pronouncements, or order Governor Scott not to make any public pronouncements regarding his policy determination on the high-speed rail issue,” the filing reads.

“Such sweeping relief would violate nearly every separation-of-powers principle known in American jurisprudence,” it went on.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave Scott until Friday to reconsider his decision. Scott wants the court to make a final decision in the case by then.

Joyner and Altman, who asked the court for an injunction keeping LaHood from giving the money to other states until the case is resolved, have until 4 p.m. today to respond.

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52 Responses to “Scott responds to rail lawsuit, calls senators sore losers”

  1. Go Rick Says:

    Thank you Gov Scott

  2. JamesFromStPete Says:

    We’re broke, so why not spend billions on a train from Tampa to Disney World. We all know how profitable trains can be… look at Amtrak. Thank you Governor Scott for trying to save the American Taxpayers from having to pay for another one of Prince Obama’s pie-in-the-sky fantasy projects.

  3. Louis E. Says:

    High speed rail is a critical national priority,but the better remedy is to impeach Scott.

  4. vageorge Says:

    I no longer live in Florida but you that do need to be thankful for your govenor. He has your best interest at heart

  5. vageorge Says:

    Your governor has not been brain washed into the Senate mindset. He has the ability to think on his own. The congressmen have proven that they lack the ability to manage a budget. obama is their leader and he hasn’t a clue. Read the deficit and wonder why the Democrats haven’t been able to pass a budget since obama came into office. Just temporary extensions allowing all the money obama wanted. WQell it has caught up with them now.
    An example is obama going to cut the heating assistance from the poor and in the next paragraph propose spending $53billion for starters on high speed railroads. The one Florida has now operates on in the red. Cannot generate enough money to even pay for maintenance. So he thinks you need another one to suck up millions each year? Be thankful for your governor and vote obama and his cronies out in 2012

  6. Oreally Says:

    What an interesting twist. Kudos for Scott’s team to turn around a 29 page answer in less than 24 hours. That was a seriously flawed expectation in a court of law anyways.
    His answer seems to illuminate some unstated issues, as in his required confirmation of the project in order to obtain the funds. It appears that the FEDS have put the burden on Scott to affirm the funds in order to disburse. He is not complying. Short of the Legislature overstepping their own powers, I don’t see how they can force him to go for the project.
    No wonder Scott wants a court action to decide this, then he is off the hook.
    The Senators screaming for blood may have over played their hands here, by bringing it to the court. If the court sides with Scott they are going to look very foolish.
    To top it off they will probably have to repeal the Rail Act that they passed before they were approved for federal funding.

  7. pat jay Says:

    Rick Scott is a one man wrecking crew for jobs on Florida. He is a very shortsighted governor. High speed rail is the transportation of the future. He is only looking a small piece of the rail line and saying no. Florida will not have the facilities to grow and allow job growth in the coming years. All of America will be connected…except Florida.

  8. Lawrence Says:

    Thank you Governor Scott!
    By majority of the vote, the people of the state of Florida elected you to run our state… efficiently. During the current economic crisis gripping not just Florida or the country, but also the world, spending billions of dollars on a money-losing venture (that will not even pay for itself) would be financial suicide. There will be those for it and those against it, but the fact remains that the cost-to-ride will never offset the cost to build and maintain. Perhaps better use to the 2 billion plus dollars can be spent on sheltering and feeding the homeless.

    Thank you Governor Scott for not being the typical politician. Run the state like a businessman, not a what we have had in the past!

  9. patty Says:

    I think its funny people are comparing a high speed train to Amtrak like its the same thing. Thats like comparing Tri-Rail to Amtrak. The reason these two train systems doesn’t make as much money as it does because its slow and delays. A high speed train in other countries make a splash but most here seem to want to stay in the stone ages. Come off it people this country needs better transportation so I only see Scott helping public transportation to stay way behind the times.

  10. John Says:

    I am on Rick Scott’s side we do not need a bullet train in Florida.

  11. hedlykarok Says:

    Hey Lawrence, nice t-bagger math.
    Only in such a small brain would 55% of 35% of 100% (or 19.25% of eligible voters) equal a majority.

  12. Carol Says:

    The $ for the rail project was already appropriated into the FEDERAL budget; the rail project is an excellent start to creating REAL jobs in Florida. Scott isn’t saving TAXPAYERS a thing – just one more day closer to picking up garbage for his royal hinnyness on I95. Wake up and read people – you’re being taken on a ride (not a swift one, either).

  13. eric Says:

    Another not so bright move by new Guvner S. Would be great for jobs and business…great for the environment and wonderful for a state highly dependent on travel and tourism.

  14. Not For Scott but..... Says:

    I did not vote for Scott and truly believe he is a crook. Now with that being said. As much as this pains me he is right in this case. He probably can’t figure away to get his hands on the money..ha!

  15. Carol Says:

    vageorge – I’d certainly like to see you ‘read’ the deficit. Obama has been president for how long now? How many times have REPUBLICAN’s quashed proposals? If there’s not a republican booger on it, they cry NO and stomp their chubby feet.

  16. Chris Says:

    Lawrence Says: By majority of the vote, the people of the state of Florida elected you to run our state…

    They love their own facts…

    48.87% is not a majority…but in this case it’s a plurality. Don’t think this guy has a HUGE mandate from the people of Florida…he doesn’t.

  17. Diana Says:

    Rick Scott is a felon. He took the 5th 75 times to save his backside. Floridians voted him in. They have gotten what they deserve. When gas is $5.00 per gallon the rail would be the beginning of what we SHOULD be doing but as #14 comment says..”he probably can’t figure a way to get his hands on the money.” Enjoy your new King folks. He will destroy Florida.

  18. EagleOne Says:

    First, why Tampa to Orlando? Let’s put it where it would make a LOT more sense and money; WPB or Ft. Lauderdale. Orlando is just a hop, skip and a jump for Tamponians. We here in So FL could benefit MUCH MORE from the bullet train when the timing is right for Florida’s budget!

  19. spence Says:

    Big Oil: “Now remember who is your master, Skeletor. Pay no mind to the working poor.”
    Skeletor: “I obey. No Rail. Jobs Bad. Big Oil good.”

  20. Hook, Line, and Sinker Says:

    By all these posts it’s obvious we’re in Flori”duh”.


    Carol??? REAL JOBS? The public sector NEVER creates a real job! These jobs are temporary period. Have you seen the projections (40,000 jobs)? Pie in the sky hype! You know how to use a calculator? Let me help (don’t worry, I’m a republican and I’m used to you depending on me). 40,000 jobs? At least a two year project? $2.4 Billion. That would equal $30,000 per job (sounds reasonable?) BUT WAIT you brainless zombies!

    The whole $2.4 Billion doesn’t get spent on labor costs! Have to buy some land, clear it, level it, put down the foundation and tracks, build some stations, bridges and crossing gates. Buy some train cars and so on… NOT CHEAP! So, the just like your brains, the gates are down and the lights are flashing but the train is NOT coming!

  21. Steve W. Says:

    Scott is a joke as a governor. A very cruel joke.

  22. matt Says:

    all the Lib DEMOCROOKS care about is UNION JOBS!!we need hi spd rail like we need another BLOW F’n BAMA!! B U S T the CROOKS at the UNIONS!!!thank GOD tax payers are waking up after OneBigAssMistake,electing this piece of GARBAGE AMERICAN HATING MARXIST SOCIALIST RADICAL!!WE kicked your A$$ in 2010 & PART 2 COMING IN 2012

  23. Hook, Line, and Sinker Says:

    To Diana in post 17.

    I bet your opposed to drilling our way out of $5 a gallon gas? Thought so, go away.

  24. Tim Jerque Says:

    At least we know Scott has a valid US Birth certificate.

    Hey, we’re trillions in debt and tri-rail shows you what rail would cost. So what’s a few billion more from our Marxist pretender president?

    Obama: GTFO 2012

  25. spence Says:

    “To Diana in post 17.

    I bet your opposed to drilling our way out of $5 a gallon gas? Thought so, go away.”

    I would have to say Big Oil has been “drilling” us good. Hard to sell the “drilling our way out of $5 [likely higher] a gallon.”

  26. SCOTT'S TOTTS Says:

    Of course this wouldn’t be an issue if the republican voters did not vote this into a state amendment when they elected Jeb all those years ago. Now all these years later and money wasted, the repubiclans want to scrap this and blame Obama and the democrats. If the average republican voter had a memory that lasted more than one episode of American Idol, there would be no debate right now. It has always been a bad plan now own up to your mistake republicans. Oh i forgot, republicans don’t do that. Politicians or voters.

  27. Diana Says:

    To #23: I can ‘go away’ but the results of the choice will still be the same. It was said in a book that “we are all free to make the wrong choices but we are NOT free to avoid the consequences of those choices.” Drilling for more oil will help only the oil companies due to the fact that oil is sold on the open market NOT TO US.

  28. Not a bad idea Says:

    How about a highspeed ONE WAY train back to Haiti? With ongoing service to south America. I’m all over that idea.

  29. morugamax Says:

    sorry yet???

  30. Carlos Says:

    High speed rail is a joke! Ever see whose riding the waste of money city buses? A bunch of citizens and illegals working the system! Free money and transportation for all those that dont contribute to society!!! Get a job!
    Scott RULES!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Educator Says:

    “Sore Losers”??? What an idiot Nazi, what does he think he is playing football after school? What a stupid American with his small time thinking. He is as backward thinking as one can get

  32. fools Says:

    silly bleeding heart liberals think we can spend our way out of this cr ap. That federal money is just more worthless paper being printed. If the train passes, you’re children will be able to contemplate how screwed they are while they ride a high speed train to their menial jobs in the mall. FOOLS !

  33. rjr Says:

    To me you have two Senators who have little faith is this Criminal of a Governor we have.

  34. Kevin Says:

    Regardless of how you feel about the train we need to get clarification on the power of the office of the Governor. If this man can rule with reckless abandon like a King then why do we even need a legislature in this state? I think more legal challenges are in his future as he gets to work lining his pockets with gold at our expense. His refusal of the funds do not mean they will go towards the debt. They will go to another state with a better Governor. One who has vision and can appreciate the value of high speed mass transit at a time when gasoline costs are increasing everyday. I want to hear more about how he illegally sold the planes. Can’t he be impeached for breaking the law? Give us some details PBP.

  35. Huh?! Says:

    What is Scott, like 12 years old or something? He answers a serious legal challenge with the equivelant of “nanny-nanny boo-boo”? Hope the rest of the document had some solid backing.

    Can you imagine how P-O’ed this guy is going to be when he figures out he can’t fire senators?

  36. Whitey Says:

    Stay Strong Gov. Scott. Enough wasting my tax dollars. Only 50% people in this country pay federal income taxes, I am part of that 50%. I am done paying for illegals, drug addicts, lazy people, no more freebies.
    Bullet Train=B.S.

  37. SCOTT'S TOTTS Says:

    Whitey, how do you feel about bailing out the banks who are run by and employ illegals, drug addicts, and self-entitled lazy people who feed off the greed of society? Bullet train is BS but so was every other initiative created by so called conservative greed.

  38. Charlie Says:

    Rick Scott and his tea party are going to ruin this state before it’s over. Checks and balances have been put into effect to make sure this rail system will do nothing but benefit the state. Scott refuses to admit he is wrong and in a very childlike fashion. I am a long time republican who is ashamed and embarrassed by Scott. Rubio is fine west is fine, Scott is a crook.

  39. vageorge Says:

    The Outstanding Public Debt as of 02 Mar 2011 at 09:16:06 PM GMT is:
    $ 1 4 , 1 7 6 , 9 6 3 , 8 5 7 , 2 0 0 .

    The estimated population of the United States is 310,128,680
    so each citizen’s share of this debt is $45,713.17.

    The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
    $4.13 billion per day since September 28, 2007!

  40. the bear Says:

    Terrific! Our state is run by a loose canon, known for deception and off color business practices and he steps in and wants to run the state like it’s one of his businesses and he’s the king. And what was with that campaign mantra, “let’s get to work”?? Defunding projects that could otherwise put Floridians to work doesn’t sound like “getting to work”. I just can’t believe the citizens of Florida elected him. He will take down our state and trample on anybody that gets in his way and use his power to his own advantage.

  41. Hook, Line, and Sinker Says:

    Dear Diana #27,

    Obviously you have been educated in the Floriduh public school system.

    Economics 101: Basic rule of supply and demand. More supply results in lower prices assuming there is no increase in demand. Ohhh those evil oil companies.

    P.S. We are talking about $5 a gallon gas and I buy mine at a gas station NOT on the open market? Need to know the birds and bees about how gas is created?

  42. vageorge Says:

    Who that is within the realm of sanity would want to add more debt to what we have? obama wants to cut heating assistance for the poor and save $2.5 billion. In his next breath he proposed spending $53billion (just for starters)for high railroads.The states will have to add to the kitty also. There hasn’t been a high speed railroad that has been able to pay it’s own way. Always a loser and they are always government subsidized. People in the US do not ride passenger trains. We are not in Europe. Here you have to get a ride to the station, pay parking, buy a ticket and wait. When you arrive at your destination you have to rent a car or get a ride etc. Then repeat it all on your way home. I won’t do it and most will not. I can drive in the same time it takes to do all that.

  43. jimbo Says:

    Its clear most of you don’t even read the article. It clearly says the feds require Scott to approve the funding. He doesn’t. End of story.the law suit is without merit and he is within his rights.

  44. jimbo Says:

    “Off color business practices”
    Let the race baiting commence. You do know his Lt. Gov is African American right?

  45. Good grief Says:

    Look, far be it for me to support Scot but a high speed rail from Orlando to Tampa? Really? I would rather see the rail go from Orlando to Miami or Miami to Jacksonville for business purposes. Orlando is an hour’s drive from Tampa. I highly doubt there’s a great demand for a rail between the two cities.

  46. former floridian Says:

    We wouldn’t want high speed rail. We’d rather continue to pay outrageous gas prices and keep widening the interstates to 25 lanes. The plan was to eventually extend the rail to south Florida. The gov is probably in the oil companies and road builders pocket. It would have been a fast way to get tourists from north to south, but hey, let’s kill tourism too. Thanks, Baldie.

  47. vageorge Says:

    @ Good grief

    The Senators in DC are just like obama. They don’t have the good sense to research what their spending proposals are really for. I have said many times it would be easier and probably quicker to drive. Some are arguing that it would create jobs and it would. But for how many and for how long ? Then Florida would be stuck with the bill. Not smart at all

  48. Fark Says:

    Personally, I am for high speed rail coming to Florida, but why is Rick Scott unreasonable to assert that taxpayers shouldnt be on the hook? Look at Tri-Rail. Its a joke. Its a taxpayer drain. They are now buying a fleet of new trains based that run on DIRECT CURRENT (yes the same DC that went away in the 1970s). If hsr is run as poorly as Tri Rail, its no wonder Scott is taking this position.

    Let the private sector build it on their dime, and let it live or die on its own. I’m sick of my taxdollars being put on the hook for projects that lose money.

  49. OBIWAN Says:

    Follow the cash: GE wants to get those Hi-Speed Rail Locomotive contracts… hey, they make those CFL’s now…in China.

    Kenya got $100 million in Foreign Aid in 2004 … mostly part of GW Bush’s African AIDS/Malaria program.

    Now, BARAMA has interceded and Kenya is up to $700 million the current year…AFTER Senator BARAMA raised over $1 Million for his “cousin”, fellow Luo tribesman Odanga lost…but Senator BARAMA insisted on power sharing for his Communist “cousin” who’s Orange Democratic Movement killed over 200 Christians macheteed as they fled their burning churches. OVer 250,000 Christians were forced to flee that Muslim province within a predominately Christian nation…

    …follow the money!!

  50. robo 3495 Says:

    No 41 tea party IQ 12.

  51. Tim Says:

    Hey Gov’na One-Term Rick: WHERE ARE THE JOBS, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE PROMISED JOBS????????????????????



  52. Dianna Says:

    I was not a supporter of Scott’s during the election, but I am becoming one these days. Who do the FEDS think they are to demand a governor of a state voice support of something, in this case a high-speed rail system, when he doesn’t? I mean, we don’t get the funds unless he voices support? Why do they want him to do that? And exactly how fast can the train go between Tampa and Orlando, especially if there are stops in between? Or will there be no stops? And if no stops in between, doesn’t that totally disinfranchise Floridians? What…the train would only be for tourists? Really?

    Also, how many jobs would be permanent? I am sure most are aware that construction jobs only last for as long as the project. Then again, will this be a never ending project? Who foots the bill if the project falls behind or goes over budget? I’m pretty sure it won’t be the FEDS.

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