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Two senators sue Scott over high-speed rail

by Dara Kam | March 1st, 2011



Sens. Thad Altman, a Melbourne Republican, and Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott over his rejection of $2.4 billion from the federal government for a high-speed rail project.

The bipartisan duo asked the Florida Supreme Court to force Scott to accept the money, challenging Scott’s authority to turn down money his predecessor Charlie Crist had already accepted.

Altman and Joyner also asked the court to agree with them that Scott exceeded his authority because the legislature had already appropriated part of the funds he’s now refused.

They also want the court to issue a temporary injunction while they’re considering the case, if they decide to take it up.

Scott, with the support of tea party activists, calls the $2.7 billion project a boondoggle. He says he doesn’t believe the train will support itself and fears that taxpayers will be on the hook for cost overruns and future operations.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Scott last week in Washington and gave Florida another week to come up with an alternate plan, something a bipartisan coalition of local, state and federal lawmakers have been scrambling to accomplish.

But Scott remains unconvinced and has given no indication he will change his mind.

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50 Responses to “Two senators sue Scott over high-speed rail”

  1. JesUp Says:

    Thank you senators. It’s good to see Florida has a legislative body, and not just a governor’s office that thinks it’s the king.

  2. Don Says:

    IMPEACH RICK SCOTT, ABUSING THE POWER OF THE GOVERNOR. He spent money for the Inauguration (says it was donated).

  3. In One Ear Says:

    These two so-called “representatives of the people” just don’t get it. After the rail line is built and the debt starts mounting, they’ll be long gone and other legislators will have to clean up the mess.

  4. rjr Says:

    in one ear you obviously know little to nothing.

  5. Kevin Says:

    I was rather surprised to hear that the Governor actually had the authority to reject the money on his own like he did. Perhaps he didn’t buy as much power as he thought. I want to hear more about how he illegally sold the state planes. This idiot must be impeached before he destroys our state.

  6. Governor Skeletor Says:

    Don’t these legislators know that rules and laws don’t apply to me? I am the all knowing Emperor of FloriDUH! I even have a private plane! Forget choo choo construction and manufacturing jobs, I will make sure that every FloriDUH resident can get work (and meds) at the local pill mill.

  7. rileymon Says:

    They fought and put a rail in Jax.fl. It now proceeds from the
    Osborn center to the old Prudential
    life buildings,on the southbank
    there isn’t 50 people a week on it to include the operators.
    It goes nowhere near the Jaguar stadium ,only to buildings that used to house Prudential Life
    Pissed away a whole lot of taxpayer dollers on that and for your Democrat brain trusts thats money that they take from your pay checks every week ,,but you would not know about that being on food stamps and wellfare!Its not the govt’s money its the peoples who work and pay TAXES

  8. JohnMo Says:

    I am a Florida citizen and have been a voter and taxpayer since 1974.
    I am from Brevard County and voted for Altman last election. It seems he forgot why he was elected. Like that RINO Chris that mistake can be rectified.

    The money from Washington might cover some of the construction costs; however
    I cannot see how the ridership from Orlando to Tampa will ever cover the operating expenses as in Payrolls; hardware upkeep; and hardware replacement (tracks; engines; passenger cars).
    The “jobs” would be temporary at best and most likely employee out of state workers with the “qualifications”(spelled union) to build this ”railroad”.
    The only places to benefit would be Orlando and Tampa.
    This is not a good use of Florida tax dollars.
    I understand that high speed rail is considered speeds greater 100mph.
    By the time the train even comes near that speed out of Orlando; it will be shutting down to stop in Tampa.
    When this is shown to be the boondoggle I believe it to be; it will be the Florida taxpayer that will have to pick up the tab of shutdown, cleanup etc.
    Let the free market do its’ job.
    If there is a consortium that wants to invest their personal money in this project more power to them. However insure they pay for insurance to do the post project cleanup and
    dismantling of the unused hardware.
    If this was light rail like the tri-rail in Palm Beach I might support this issue; however I don’t know if they are profitable yet.
    I believe this project is like the “Big Dig” in Boston, Massachusetts. The project ended up costing Massachusetts taxpayers three times the original value with cost over runs etc.

  9. spence Says:

    I support this lawsuit against Skeletor, The Job Killer.

  10. Waste Says:

    The train is a bad idea and will be a long-term money loser, like all other public transit. Who even travels regularly between Orlando and Tampa? It just doesn’t make sense at all.

  11. Oreally Says:

    @joemo
    You would think that if this was such a winner idea that private companies would be vying to devep and operate it themselves.
    Two questions I guess I have.
    How do two senators gave standing to sue him?
    And
    How do they get to go to the Supreme Court directly?

  12. nemo Says:

    Ignorance is bliss… Public transportation run by the Government is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

    History repeats itself. Please do some research and study The Miami Metro Rail, The Amtrak disaster and others.

    The state shall end up with a pile of debt and with a train getting caught in a black hole.

  13. melody Says:

    How long did the USA taxes subsidize oil drilling in Gulf of Mexico? Now that profits are at all time high where is pay off for that tax investment Gov. Scott supporters?

  14. steve layman Says:

    only thing scott is going to do is line his pockets ! he didnt spend 70 million of his own bucks for no good reason. this man is a crook and should be in jail !

  15. AJLind Says:

    *** IDIOTS! THIS STATE NEEDS TO SPEND $2.5 BILLION DOLLARS ON OTHER THINGS THAN A SILLY TRAIN BETWEEN ORLANDO AND TAMPA! WHY NOT A TRAIN TO SOUTH FLORIDA?

    RICK SCOTT IS RIGHT.

    RICK SCOTT WORKS FOR $1 A YEAR, FOLKS, SINCE HE REFUSED HIS OWN SALARY. HE ALSO FLIES HIS OWN AIRPLANE WHEN POSSIBLE TO AVOID SPENDING PUBLIC FUNDS ON AIRFARE.

    DEMOCRATS, I HOPE YOU LIKE SUFFERING IN YOUR DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR WITH IDIOT POLITICIANS WHO JUST SPEND, SPEND, SPEND MONEY THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE…I HOPE YOU LIKE PAYING MORE FOR EVERYTHING…I HOPE YOU LIKE INFLATION…I HOPE YOU LIKE $4 A GALLON OF GAS…I HOPE YOU LIKE NO COST OF LIVING INCREASES TO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS (something this Obama administration and EVERY Democrat administration has always denied to seniors – while voting themselves raises every single opportunity – at least Republicans have given senior citizens cost of living increases in their SSN checks).

    YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS TO THINK THAT THIS STATE NEEDS HIGH SPEED RAIL FOR ONLY ONE SMALL PART OF THIS STATE…PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE STATE NEED MONEY TOO…

    HOW GREEDY ARE YOU TO THINK THAT TAMPA TO ORLANDO DESERVES $3 BILLION OF OUR TAX DOLLARS?!?

    GROW UP! ***

  16. GJB Says:

    I have to side with Scott on this. The government doesn’t have the money. It will just print it. Why do we need a high speed train when we have other public transportation. He is right when he says it will not support itself and the taxpayers, thats you and me, will be stuck with the tab. When are you going to get it? The Obama administration is trying to buy down debt with more debt. It’s a losing proposition. And suing the governor? More waste of taxpayer dollars. Can we not mediate anything without a lawsuit? I would love to know how much taxpayer dollars are wasted on lawsuits.

  17. john o Says:

    Rick scott playing politic here his doing this to make tea party happy,he care less about taxpayers!

  18. idiotsthatwantatrain Says:

    when and why would you ride this? thank you Rick Scott for not spending money of frivolous things. even if the govt. gave Fl, $10 billion to do this, we the taxpayer’s would foot the bill. I dont give a rat’s azz about Tampa or Orlando. S FL has a train called Tri rail, and I dont believe it has made a profit ever, it runs from WPB to Miami, with 4 people on it each day, each paying $2. what kind of idiot would want this train?

  19. No Vision for the Future Says:

    You guys are ridiculous, and obviously not schooled enough on the subject to comment intelligently.

    The Orlando-Tampa segment is just the FIRST in a line that will go from Tampa to Miami. The Orlando-Tampa line is FIRST because the impact studies, rights of way, etc. are already complete. You have to start somewhere, and this is an opportunity to have the feds pick up the tab. If we don’t use it, California will be happy to take it. Oh, and private companies bidding on the project are expected to make ridership guarantees and pick up 300 million in costs Florida was expected to pay.

    It’s amazing how easily you can tell the conservative SHEEP based on their use of the word “boondoggle.” What transportation infrastructure EVER makes a profit?! I bet you SOCIALISTS don’t understand how much federal money is wasted subsidizing Roads?! Guess taxes don’t even come CLOSE to covering the BILLIONS spent every year maintaining roads, and you all and I have to pay for miles of road driven on daily only by four or five rednecks, yet not a peep? How many times can we widen I-95, I-4 or the turnpike? I guess you HYPOCRITES don’t mind federal government largess if it directly benefits YOU. Just like Rick Scott, who got RICH off government subsidized healthcare!

    But that’s OK. Infrastructure investments are NEVER worth the effort or money, are they? Thank God Eisenhower lived in a time when Americans were actually concerned about planning for the future!

    We haven’t even had a chance to review proposals from private companies who want to build the rail system, and you all rush to label it a “boondoggle” because Governor Gollum (the carpetbagger) reads a couple of conservative think tank reports! The term “sheeple” personified!

  20. jimbo Says:

    So the companies set to build the rail are from out of state. While they would hire ditchdiggers locally all of their equipment, materials, equipment operators and project managers will come from out of state. All that money will be shipped out. Food and housing will be about the only money spent in florida. The rock lumber rail and train components are bought out of state.
    To all you rail supporters how much. Of the 2.4 billion will actually work its way into the Florida economy?
    How many temp Florida jobs will be created?
    And how many long term jobs after completion?

  21. SAY NO!! ANOTHER FLEECING OF TAXPAYER Says:

    THESE SENATORS ARE IDIOTS!! They just want to look like they are doing something.

    The jobs high speed rail would bring are TEMPORARY and I bet they bring in crews from other states like most contractors do.

    WE CAN NEVER AFFORD THE UPKEEP AND GOING FORWARD MAINTENANCE COSTS AS THIS WILL NOT HAVE ANY RIDERS TO PAY JUST LIKE TRI RAIL AND AMTRAK.

    IF MIAMI CANNOT SUPPORT A TRAIN who in the world thinks Orlando to Tampa is an important or busy route.

    Only morons or those who hope to profit.

    Let private sector companies fight over it and those who want to ride pay them!

    NOT GETTING ANY OF MY TAX MONEY FOR SOMEBODY’S PET PROJECT OR LOBBY.

    KEEP SAYING NO RICK SCOTT!

    VOTE OUT THESE MONEY WASTING SENATORS!

  22. Gail Says:

    I don’t like the route it would take. If it went from Orlando to Miami it would probably be used more often. How many people would use it fro Orlando to Tampa?

  23. larry Says:

    To all of you “newbies” who think that you know what is best for Florida….The “High Speed” rail was DEFEATED by the voters in Florida over 10 years ago….

  24. In One Ear Says:

    @rjr, you’re so darn smart. Tell me how a private company is going to make money after picking up the shortfalls and paying O&M costs? C’mon, educate me.

  25. Big Johnson Says:

    This train has been in the planning since the mid 1980′s. I think this suit is more about Scott abusing the office and exceeding his authority than building a train. Scott would take the money in a heart beat if it were invested in Florida’s seaports.

  26. tj Says:

    You all make me laugh!! Those of you who support Dirt Bag Rick are too funny! Florida is already a laughing stock of the country and the tea party idiots are just making it worse! I guess the rest of the country needs a good laugh so keep up the good work Dirt Bag Scott! Keep them Laughing! Tea Party and republican morons!!

  27. Biill Neubauer Says:

    FINALLY! A politician who isn’t mesmerized by “federal money” and can spot a boondoggle when he sees one. How fortunate that the governor has veto power. At SOME point mendicants are going to have to understand that THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS BROKE!

  28. JupiterResident Says:

    Folks, Having lived in St. Pete for years before moving over here (Jupiter); this rail line is a farce. Those in favor need to look at the documented CSX involvement (coercion) and truly need to analyze the need for a rail line between “outer Tampa” and Orlando. By the time you drive to the station, you might as well continue on I-4 and be in Orlando for less money. This project smells, and it is readily available who was to benefit from the initial construction and long term debt…CSX. Oops, kind of like Tri-Rail.

  29. No Vision for the Future Says:

    Why are you ALL missing the point that Tampa to Orlando is just the FIRST SEGMENT to be built on a system that will ultimately connect through and down to MIAMI?

    Ultimately, the most ambitious plans call to connect the FLorida line through to other states.

  30. Carol Says:

    GENERAL ELECTRIC (now known as Govenment Electric) has already been selected to build the cars in its Chinese factory. We no longer have U.S.-based companies like Budd and Pullman. The unions put them out of business long ago. Jeffrey Imelt, GE’s CEO is the president’s close friend and advisor and sits on his business advisory panel. Government Electric has been given billions of $ for building solar panels and batteries for the now-failed Chevy (Government Motors) VOLT. GE also manufactures the CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) in its Taiwan and Chinese plants. Just thought you’d like to know. Pssssst…I’m a political junkie and delight in scrounging up FACTS.

  31. tj Says:

    Ya are govt is broke thanks to the wonderful republicans that have been in office! Thanks to the Bush brothers and former gov Christ you all did an awsome Job!!!! Oh wait you did, all the money is in your pockets! The problem is rep want this and dem want that and they are no were to be found in the middle! This isnt just about the rail its going to be about everything! We need to start working together not against each other! But no one wants to do that!

  32. robo 3495 Says:

    How can anyone think this guy is going to do anything positive for the state of Florida. His company was charged with fraud people. He stole from the american people!What more can you say? Now he is goody two shoes, right.

  33. UseYourBrain Says:

    This money is going to be spent on high speed rail in America whether you like it or not. How about letting some of our federal tax dollars come back to Florida? Maybe put some Floridians to work? You may not agree that $2.4B should be spent on high speed rail, but it is going to be spent. Maybe here…maybe California…maybe somewhere else. The Feds are paying 90% of the cost. If someone offered to pay for 90% of remodeling your kitchen…would you take the money? I sure would!

  34. Tim Jerque Says:

    Just take a look at the BONNDOGGLE Tri-Rail has been and image it 100 times worse. That’s “High Speed” train for you all.
    We’re broke morons. Stop spending our grandkids money.

    Squish the lefty scum in 2012.

    Obama: GTFO 2012.

  35. Carol Says:

    DOES ANYONE POSTING UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS MONEY WE DO NOT HAVE? I don’t think any of you realize that it’s part of an appropriation made by the Dem.-led Congress two years ago, and at that time that was MONEY WE DON’T HAVE. Does anyone understand what a DEFICIT is? It’s now grown, through the fault of both Reps. and Dems., to a figure that is 800% of our current GNP. The U.S. is OWNED BY THE CHINESE, AND THEY ARE BEGINNING TO DICTATE BOTH OUR DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY (albeit a small way, but it’s starting). Continue on this spending spree, but be sure that your children and grandchildren learn to speak at least one of the Chinese dialects.

  36. brad Says:

    Rick Scott is a criminal& a moron.

  37. wakeuplefty Says:

    2.3 Billion to just go from Tampa to Orlando?? 80 miles??? What the heck do you think it will cost to another almost 200 miles to Miami???? How much will that cost Florida?? Google search the high speed rail project in California. 10 years in the making, almost 100 billion spent and NOT ONE RAIL LAID YET!!!!!!!!. Boondoggle is too kind a word….. Gov. Scott, please not only politely refuse the money, but tell them not to even print it for any other state, IT’S NOT FREE MONEY!!!!!!

  38. Kevin Says:

    If republicans hate boondoggles so much then why did they support the Scripps research project that cost the state over 300 mil and Palm Beach County another 300 mil. All the hype about Scripps jobs the support companies that were supposed to flock here and bring even more high paying jobs never happened. Oh I know why, because big pharma profits heavily from our public tax payer investment. We provide the land and the buildings, pack them full of expensive specialized equipment then the federal tax payer funded NIH pays for the research so pharmaceutical companies can patent Scripps discoveries and charge us big bucks for the drugs they developed with our money. Sweet deal for them and we get screwed. Just another Bush scheme making a profit for the private sector while the tax payer covers the cost.

  39. l Says:

    what a joke and another waste of taxpayers money taxpayers going to court for something the majority of taxpayers dont want, get our state out of debt before we buy a new pair of shoes. taxpayers dont even use the turnpike unless necessary because of the cost.
    so cut me a break

  40. Joe Says:

    Haha I have to laugh at all the comments. Those of you who are in support of this rail project are making arguments for the opposition.

    @Kevin. You say that the Scripps project was a boondoggle that didn’t create jobs, and went over budget. What makes you think the rail project would be any different?
    @No Vision for the Future
    You are the worst of the all. You bring up Eisenhower? Is it possible that maybe America has sufficient infrastructure to support current and future commerce, whereas under Eisenhower we did not? You completely ignore the difference in economic scale between then and now. You also use the typical argument that roads do not pay for themselves. Yet you seem to forget the BILLIONS of $ being made by consumers, businesses and government, BECAUSE THE ROADS EXIST. That’s why they are maintained. You can’t quantify an 80 mile road project, made strictly for commuters, to millions of miles of roads used constantly for inter/intrastate commerce. Not even close. And by the way, while you like to accuse the conservatives for ‘taking’ road dollars just for them; get your facts straight. Everyone gets to use the roads, even American Rednecks.

    Then to top it off you state that we haven’t even had a chance to ‘review’ private proposals. If you haven’t had a chance to look at all of the facts, why are you screaming about rushing forward when their might be a better option?

    And I despise Rick Scott as much as anyone, and think he is a liar through and through. He doesn’t care about the people one bit, but he happens to be right on this issue.
    This is political favoritism that is going to ship the money overseas for materials and out of state for most of the wages.
    FYI people the Dems screw people just as much as the conservatives. They both act for themselves and their donors, rather than for the people.

    As someone else pointed out, please indicate how much of the $2.4 billion will actually hit the state economy.

  41. david Says:

    will the parts be made in china? Will illegals be doing the job?

  42. david Says:

    I like this story

  43. wrockh Says:

    High speed rail would look great in a Florida tourism commercial, but there will be significant cost overruns and no passenger train system anywhere in the world, at any speed, is self supporting. It is very simple – Florida can’t afford its existing commitments.

  44. Unreal Says:

    Something interesting I read in the complaint. Joyner and Altman state that the Florida Rail Act requires that $60 million of documentary stamp tax each year be allocated to this project.

    The Florida Rail Act appears to have been passed at the end of 2009 according to the complaint.

    The federal government’s allocation of funding did not occur for 4-6 months later.
    If the Feds had not approved the funding would Joyner and Altman being pushing so hard for the governor to go ahead with the project as it would be in direct violation of the Florida Rail Act.
    It does not appear by their complaint that the legislature had any ‘proof’ of federal funds in hand when they passed the Rail Act.
    Florida would have really been stuck if the Feds didn’t approve the money. Thank goodness they did. ha.

  45. Atlas Shruggery Says:

    Where are the jobs, Rick?

  46. Mr. K Says:

    I don’t like Scott, but he’s right on this. It’s not just the construction, but the drain of year after year subsidies. This will not make money. I keep hearing how “private sources” will operate it. And when they declare bankruptcy and the taxpayers have to step in? And tourists would still have to rent a car at either end. It takes you from station to station, and then what? Boondoggle.

  47. Governor Skeletor Says:

    I represent only freedom loving residents of FloriDUH and am the Emperor of libertarian principles. And nothing represents freedom and libertarianism more than driving on government subsidized highways, while driving cars made by automakers who received gov’t bailout money, and burning oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, and Russia. Even better, the oil profits go to my best pals the Koch brothers and BP. Now that’s the American free market at its best. So forget this clean energy and job creating choo choo and let’s get to work FloriDUH style…widening highways to get to/from the pill mills as fast as possbile.

  48. rails are a joke Says:

    If the rails are such a hot idea, let private business pay. When will people realize that the working people are tired of financing stupidity from the government. End this nonsense, end the earned income credit which gives tax returns to people who dont pay taxes! ENOUGH!!

  49. Grateful Says:

    I am grateful that these two senators, especially Republican Thad Altman, have had the guts to stand up and challenge the reckless and possibly illegal behavior of Rick Scott. Whether you love high speed rail or hate it, this is a nation that respects the rule of law, not the whims of individuals acting outside the law.

    Thank you, Senator Altman… you are a true Florida hero in my view.

  50. ray hosbach Says:

    It is a GOP imperative not to allow any Democratic successes. Florida’s best interests are secondary.

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