Florida PIRG Response to Governor Scott’s Rejection of High-Speed Rail Funds

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Brad Ashwell

Florida PIRG

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Governor Rick Scott announced today that he would refuse $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a rail line between Orlando and Tampa despite federal tax dollars almost entirely covering capitol costs and projections indicating that the line would cover its own operating costs. Florida PIRG’s advocate Brad Ashwell reacted with the following comments:

“We are disappointed to see Florida losing this opportunity to be the first state in the nation to begin building a 21st century transportation infrastructure. The Governors decision today was extremely short sited.

The Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail would have created thousands of jobs and stimulated Florida’s economy while making Florida more attractive to foreign companies. The Surface Transportation Policy Partnership estimated that transit creates 19% more jobs than building roads because transit creates sustained, long-term jobs relating to maintenance, operation, and dispatch. Study after study have shown high-speed rail to be a worthwhile investment.

In addition to creating jobs and decreasing traffic congestion rail provides increased mobility and better access to jobs, goods, and services. Clean high-speed rail also would reduce our dependency on oil, global warming emissions, and improve Florida’s quality of life.

Today’s decision ignores the voices of millions of Floridians. Small businesses owners, ordinary Floridians, industry leaders, labor groups, along with environmental, consumer and smart growth groups, who all voiced their support for this high-speed rail project.“