Government Spending

Florida Governor Rick Scott Approves SunRail Project

|

After initially vetoing the project, Florida's Tea Party Governor Rick Scott has approved a SunRail project for Central Florida. The AP reports

Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said Friday he expects the $1.2 billion project will be completed in early 2014.

The Republican governor had suspended it shortly after taking office last January, saying he wanted to study its feasibility and costs. The rail will connect downtown Orlando with Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties.

The state's share of the costs was expected to be $432 million to purchase 61.5 miles of track from CSX and another $66 million for operating subsidies.

A Reason Foundation study released earlier this year suggested that Florida taxpayers "could be on the hook for as much as $3 billion in construction cost overruns plus operating subsidies if the Orlando to Tampa medium-speed rail system is built."

NEXT: Is Obama Souring on the NLRB's Case against Boeing?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. WTF? Way to lose whatever respect I had for you.

    1. He had too. Otherwise they would have taken the project to Shelbyville.

      1. …had to.
        I’m having a homophone problem today.
        NTTAWWT.

        1. You’ve got to PRAY THE GAY AWAY!

          1. I thought that was Rick Perry’s schtick?

      2. Monorail…..Monorail……….

    2. It’s not easy to do the right thing when you have public opinion and the liberal media against you.

      This is tyranny of the moocher majority! Where is John Galt?

    3. I second Joe M’s first comment of the thread.

  2. Last I heard, Scott told the municipalities involved that if there are any overruns, the state isn’t picking them up.

    I voted against a light rail initiative in Hillsborough County (Tampa), which initiative, fortunately, was defeated. If this is going to come up again in connection with some high-speed crap from Orlando, I’m voting the same way.

    1. Yeah, right: “the state ain’t picking up the overruns”. Pull the other one, dude — as soon as there are overruns, you’ll cave again.

      1. If he’s even around by then. Scott’s a tough one to read, though, and I think he might mean that. Maybe.

  3. Also, is it just me, or is Scott doing a serious troll face in that photo?

    1. In Florida he has a reputation for being bat-shit crazy. I thought the photo affirmed what I had heard.

    2. Stare into the eyes of a true megalomaniac

  4. After initially vetoing the project, Florida’s Tea Party Governor Rick Scott has approved a SunRail project for Central Florida.

    I guess they reached his price.

    1. Like the old joke
      “…we’ve already established your occupation. Now we’re haggling over price.”

    2. Well, let’s see. He was vilified by the liberal media, thousands of Marxist moochers wrote him nasty e-mails and letters, public opinion was against him, what’s he supposed to do? Keep fighting alone?

      1. Re: GregorySmith3,

        what’s he supposed to do? Keep fighting alone?

        And here I thought he was elected to look after the interests of all Floridians. I guess you accept he should rather look after an empty Inbox…

      2. Yes. Why shouldn’t he; isn’t that his job? If his job is to just do what Marxist emailers tell him to do, we can just eliminate the position and let a clerk handle the job.

      3. Um, sorry, were you expecting support for groupthink amongst a community of libertarians?

        1. “Um, sorry, were you expecting support for groupthink amongst a community of libertarians?”

          —I was hoping they would understand reality. I mean, these liberal libertarians bitch about Republicans all day long, and then when the Republicans do what the liberals wanted them to do, they continue bitching against Republicans.

          Give me a break, where was your blessed libertarian movement when the governor was doing the right thing? They were probably too busy talking about legalizing pot.

          So now that the people force the governor to do the bad thing, it’s back to bitching about Republicans.

          How boringly predictable.

          1. Actually, we were all being accused of being Republican toadies on the H&R thread where some of us gave him kudoes for killing the High Speed Rail boodoggle.

            Besides that and standing up to the teachers union, there’s not much else to praise Scott on. But I guess we should be thankful for whatever we can get.

      4. Sure, Greg, Scott caved to pressure from those well-known Marxists Republican Congressman John Mica and the president of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce.

        1. Most Chambers of Commerce aren’t freedom friendly, they will government spending when it benefits them and cost them nothing. Of course, the cost of maintaining that future train in the red will be passed to every Floridian, so they will pay eventually.

          As for John Mica, the same comment applies.

          1. Yeah, it’s just that you were so quick to round up the usual suspects, when there’s a whole differentadditional gang of suspects here.

            My guess is that Scott has decided he needs the Republican establishment more that he though he did, so he’s caved.

            1. This. There’s no good financial news in the forecast, he’s going to need the establishment guys next year.

    3. I guess they reached his price.

      Shhhh…you’ll undermine trust in the system.

  5. The silver lining in all of this is that we will have a real world example of what a big failure HSR will be for most of the US. Hopefully, that will give pause to other states considering this.

    1. In the spirit of Bailey’s earlier “Predicting the future” thread, I will make the following predictions:

      1) The price will be well beyond $1.2 billion.
      2) Ridership will be much lower than the projections.
      3) It will not cover operating costs.
      and, despite the above
      4) Liberals will continue to tout HSR as ‘the future of transportation.’

      1. The thought process on high speed rail mimics the thought process on deficit spending. And insanity.

      2. Incidentally, I have also come to these conclusions.

      3. Liberals will continue to tout HSR as ‘the future of transportation.’

        But it IS the future of transportation! Look at the Chinese! They’re winning! Creates jobs!

      4. 5) We can throw this in The Truth’s face.

        The Truth: China is so ahead of the US because of HSR

        US: FLORIDA!

      5. Um, excuse me, but Tomorrowland pretty definitely proved that the monorail is the future of transportation.

    2. This isn’t High Speed Rail. It’s heavy commuter rail.

      Top speed will be around 50 MPH.

      1. Correction noted.

        However, that will give the Chads and Tonys the out they need, once this does not work as promised, to claim that HSR would work somewhere else.

  6. Florida taxpayers “could be on the hook for as much as $3 billion in construction cost overruns plus operating subsidies if the Orlando to Tampa medium-speed rail system is built

    Ah, who cares about the taxpayers? We have Leaders With Plans!

    1. That was a different project, Scott vetoed that one. There was some hope that he’d do the same here.

      This project is heavy rail from Volusia to Osceola county through downtown Orlando.

      Instead of just being able to sit stuck in traffic at level crossings watching empty Amtrack cars go by motorists will now be able to sit and watch empty Sunrail trains go by.

      And by the time this one goes belly-up Scott will be long gone and the new Governor will proudly sign the bailout bill that the delegations from Orlando, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs etc lobbied for.

      1. What. The. Fuck. Why are they buying CSX track to do this?

        1. Apparently CSX wasn’t satisfied with any assurances from the state regarding their liability for anything involving Sunrail because of their ownership of the tracks.

          As far as I know CSX will still be using the track for some of their operations to industrial customers in Central Florida but their main traffic will be rerouted in N Florida to Lakeland (which is one reason why Paula Dockery is so pissed off).

    1. But, but, but …. if we vote third party THE DEMS WILL BE IN!!!

      … huge difference that’s making.

  7. Hay, what’s that slapping me in the ass??

    1. Seriously. Do we really need any more evidence that someone who campaigns as a “tea party” candidate needs a bit more scrutiny than just taking them at their word? This whole tea party thing, regardless of its noble intentions, has been destined for a hostile takeover by neocon wangslappers since day one.

      1. Hey! I resemble that remark.

  8. Taxpayers railroaded again. Bob Poole lives in Florida – did he get to testify or otherwise lobby against this b.s.?

  9. “The state’s share of the costs was expected to be $432 million to purchase 61.5 miles of track from CSX”

    Railroad track is worth $7M/mile? Fuck me. I’m in the wrong business.

    1. Funny how track lays on land, isn’t it?

    2. Why wasn’t the track confiscated through Eminent Domain?

      1. The state still has to pay for stuff taken by eminent domain. And in Florida the state generally pays more than the property would normally get in a normal sale.

        There is also the matter that railroads have special status. Their rights of way are pretty much exempt from being taken by eminent domain.

  10. What the hell is wrong with that guy’s face?

    Its got a very “This is good Acid!”-vibe. Either that or he’s about to tell you how much Jesus loves you, etc.

    1. To me he’s got a whole Nosferatu look going.

      It’s funny, I didn’t bother to vote last year and didn’t even pay that much attention to who was running.

      The guy’s been governor for six months now and I’m just finding out what he looks like. If you’d shown me his picture two months ago and asked me to put a name on it, I couldn’t have.

    2. It does kinda look like he is attempting to smile while undergoing a proctoscopy.

  11. Who can stand up to a towering intellect like Ray LaHood?

    Scott had no choice but to fold like a two dollar lawn chair.

    1. Ray LaHood (and the rest of the Obama Administration) was pretty much silent on this.

      Most of the pressure came from John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (and my Congressman*) and the local municipal governments.

      *no, I didn’t write to him. I figured that would be as much use as the letter I wrote to him requesting his support for a medical marijuan bill Ron Paul was pushing.

  12. Maybe Scott just wants to get an invite to be on Morning Joke.

    1. BTW, did you know Hussein is Arabic for ‘dick”?

  13. Does Scott actually think that this will get him so much as one inch of slack from the leftists? Shit, when the thing fails (and of course it will) they’ll hang the blame on him.

    1. Sadly no.

  14. You know, why rail? Why not roads dedicated to high-speed buses?

    1. Uh…..

      1. What does that have to do with Sandra Bullock’s The Net?

        1. I just want to know how to use the three shells.

      2. Without bombs, naturally.

        1. Uh…..

    2. Okay, if no buses, why not suborbital? It’s cooler than some lame-ass bullet train.

  15. I heard Jeffrey Loria wants to build a new Marlins Stadium at each of the SunRail stations.

  16. Will it have more than 2000 riders a day now?

  17. On morning joe today they did a segment on HSR in China. One china guy was interviewed and said, “it is a technological success, but an economic failure”, or something to that effect. The segment then switched to the studio where the heads all started talking about how the US needed to get rolling with HSR and acted as if the interviewed china guy wasn’t speaking English.

    1. Most MSM talking heads seem to have failed their “English as a First Language” courses.

  18. “Dude. I’m trippin’ my balls off.”

    1. Indeed. Where’s my alt-text?

  19. This project is not just a leftwing dream, there’s a shitload of engineering and construction firms that want this built.

    1. Isaac, isn’t that true of every government megaproject, whether left- or right-approved?

      I am sure that there is intensive lobbying going on right now for yet another aircraft carrier. (Tentatively named the B***** H****** O****.)

      1. It’s shovel-ready! Stimulus!

  20. The only way they’re going to get people to use the damned thing is if they put an airport at one end of the line, and Baggage Claim at the other.

    And even then: maybe.

  21. I’d like to believe that Scott is lending the municipalities enough rope to hang themselves. But I would be wrong. 50MPH rail between Tampa and Orlando? Right beside a 70 MPH 3 lane interstate? I can imagine dozens and dozens of people riding that train daily. The cost overruns alone would finance that new BHO aircraft carrier.

    1. Sunrail will be a local commuter heavy rail line from Deland to Poinciana through Orlando.

      It doesn’t go anywhere near Tampa.

      1. Incidentally, the rolling stock that Sunrail is planning to buy is capable of higher speeds than 50 MPH. It’s just with stations every 3 to 5 miles the trains won’t get over that. Within Orange and Seminole Counties the speeds will be more like 25-30 MPH.

  22. How SunRail (approved) is a worse deal than high-speed rail (rejected)

    That’s the Miami Herald’s take not mine.

    If I were guessing, Sunrail, as a commuter rail system where there are actually commuters, is likely to generate better ridership numbers than the HSR line to Tampa.

    Doesn’t mean it’s a good deal though.

  23. I just want to reiterate what Isaac Bartram keeps stating that most of the commenters, and Mike Riggs, seem to have missed:

    This is NOT the high speed rail project between Tampa and Orlando. It has nothing to to with that. This is local commuter rail for downtown Orlando.

    While I don’t agree with the federal and state portions of the funding, I do think there will at least be a market for ridership as opposed to the previously rejected Tampa-Orlando HSR project. If I was still working in downtown Orlando, I would consider riding the train, because rush hour traffic there is brutal. Between 4 and 7pm I-4 is basically a parking lot from Altamonte Springs to the turnpike.

    1. Actually, I’ve come to the the conclusion that no one ever reads anyone’s post at H&R.

      They just see a name and think, “Tony, what an asshole” and they proceed to write a flame comment in response.

      Or, if it’s someone they like then its all “THIS!!!!+1111;;;;eleventyeleven”.

      It has nothing to do with the content of the post.

  24. The solution is simple if you want people to take the train. Demolish all roads.

  25. Depressing to see this dummy cave. But the local media is bawling and moaning about how he’s such a mean guy to reject the nice choo-choo and all the poor poor teachers. It’s embarrasing how pathetic and unreasoned ANY of their arguments are. Grade-school journalism from news outlets that are usually reliably good.

    They even cited the studies from Reason regarding HSR, but apparently data and facts are meaningless when someone might lose their fat govt. paycheck in a horrible economy.
    Rick, dont pussy out so soon.

    1. Tolly,

      Flagellating expired equines, and all, but Sunrail is not High Speed Rail.

      The High Speed Rail project that Drac Scott vetoed in March is a completely different project from this one.

      You seem to forget, the business socialists in the local Central Florida GOP establishment who want to spend us into poverty have more than one weapon in their arsenal.

  26. Yay!!!! Happy Dance

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.