Senators respond to Scott’s response on high-speed rail suit: WE’RE in chargeby Dara Kam | March 2nd, 2011
The latest salvo in a constitutional battle over who’s got the power to get a high-speed train on track in Florida came from two senators suing Gov. Rick Scott over his refusal to accept $2.4 billion in federal funds for the project.
Sens. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, and Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, allege in their suit filed yesterday that Scott overstepped his authority by rejecting the funds, part of which lawmakers had already appropriated, and scrapping the project that they had created in state law.
Scott fired back today that the senators were simply miffed their “policy preferences” hadn’t prevailed in the political realm, and that the high court couldn’t micromanage the Legislature or governor to spend federal money that hadn’t been appropriated yet.
Now, the bipartisan pair issued their response to his response.
“Respondent has set up a fake argument just in order to tear it down. Petitioners are not asking this Court to direct the Respondent how to manage the construction of the high speed rail in Florida. Instead, the Petitioners are simply asking this Court to direct the Respondent that he does not have the jurisdiction or authority as granted by the laws of this State (which he is obligated to faithfully execute) to take the action he has taken in rejecting a specific appropriation of $130.8 million; federal grants amounting to $2.4 billion subject to statutory authority; dedicated funding pursuant to the Florida Rail Act of $60 million per year; and thus the entire high speed rail project,” their lawyers wrote.
Their filing this afternoon is probably the last stop for the fast-tracked lawsuit for today.
The court ordered oral arguments at 3 p.m. tomorrow to get a decision in time for the Friday deadline set by the White House for Scott to change his mind.