Recently you may have noticed a trend with newly elected state Governors making disturbing moves that have left little room for opposition. Equally as bold and shocking as the Wisconsin Governor’s union crushing, new Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has rejected the $2.4 billion earmarked for the first phase of the Florida high speed rail project that would connect Tampa to Orlando. Florida was one of the first states chosen to receive Federal funds to begin building a modern high speed transit system that is projected to one day connect the country’s major regions.
As of the time this post was created, the United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LeHood has extended the deadline for Gov. Scott to make a final decision until the end of this week. At this point Scott has shown no signs of wavering on his decision, even though many rail supporters have tried hard to prove that the state of Florida would not be responsible for budget overruns.
It seems as though that since Scott is ignoring the claims that the State would be covered, his main motive is to go against this Federally proposed rail system pushed forward by the Obama administration. There are already several other states clamoring at the opportunity to snatch up the billions being turned away by Scott.
As a creative professional that is a Florida native, my main concern is how this delay will cause even more creative individuals that live in Florida to move away to live and work in states that are actively striving to create environments that are forward thinking and supportive of creative industries. California is a good example of one of these states that is already a hub to technology companies, and continuing to ensure they maintain their edge by moving forward with the HSR projects. What’s amazing is that California is pushing forward with the rail project without worrying about the State taking on any additional costs, even though it is widely know they have major financial issues.
At this point many rail supporters like myself can only wait and hope things turn around for the better. It is crazy that one man that has bought himself the Governorship of a state can have the power to “derail” a project that has been in the works for 10 years. I believe this will ensure he is only elected to one term, but the question is how much damage will be done in these four years he is in office. Come back and check for more updates on Florida high speed rail…