When I heard the news yesterday that Governor Rick Scott rejected the high speed rail I was not surprised. Governor Scott is known for its cost cutting measures as we Floridians have witnessed recently as he announced the Budget. Reactions of outraged politicians calling it a premature decision were heard from Orlando to Lakeland and from Tampa to Tallahassee.
The phase I 84 mile high speed rail route with its initial construction between Orlando International Airport and downtown Tampa with a stop in Lakeland FL was projected to cost about $2.7 billion. Governor Scott said “The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits.”
The benefit of a high speed rail system is greatly appreciated in European countries, such as United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany because of its congested highways and high gas prices and it’s funding came from the the government. It’s about connectivity and quality of life. In short term it would create jobs with its rail construction that will stimulate the economy and certainly help the housing crisis in Lakeland and cities throughout Polk County. While everyone understands the price tag is steep and both sides of the high speed rail debate have worthwhile points, however, to me the benefits would far outweigh the risk as I look at the big picture – the infrastructure – 20 or 40 years from now.
With the history of on and off high speed rail, was it doomed?
Is America ready for high speed rail because we are so ready to jump in our cars and drive?
Is the economy to blame?
Check out what Lakeland Local blogger Billy Townsend had to say about the Governor’s rejection as he tackled on another subject: Sunrail/CSX .
Lakeland FL Mayor Gow Fields reaction to the rejection of the High Speed Rail Funds