Two Florida lawmakers who unsuccessfully sued Republican Gov. Rick Scott to prevent him from turning down $2.4 billion of federal funds for high-speed rail blasted the governor Monday when other states and Amtrak won the money.
Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said other states owed a debt of gratitude to Scott, whose campaign slogan was, “Let’s get to work.”
“ 'Let’s get to work’ was supposed to be about getting Florida to work, not Delaware, California, and all the 15 states getting $2 billion of the $2.4 billion the governor rejected for high-speed rail,” Joyner said. “In his personal feud with President Obama, [Scott] threw away at least 24,000 good-paying jobs that other states will now provide because they were wise enough to recognize the governor’s ego-driven folly.”
Joyner and Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, sued Scott earlier this year, saying that he had overstepped his authority in rejecting the funds, which had been approved by the Legislature. The Florida Supreme Court disagreed.
Altman chided Scott for taking credit for federal budget cuts in the continuing resolution signed in mid-April that included some funds for high-speed rail.
Scott said then that he was “proud to have brought this waste to the attention of those in Washington.” However, the cuts did not include the high-speed rail funds that he had rejected.
“This is almost propaganda,” Altman said. “It’s all proven to be false, and as a result we’ve lost money for what would have been the most modern transportation system in America, if not the world.”
Scott, who wants to focus on road-widening and port projects, is also holding up payments on contracts for the $1.2 billion central Florida commuter project known as SunRail. He plans to make a decision on SunRail by July.
Last week, a coalition of opponents — including former elected officials and Tea Party members — launched a website called VETOSunRail.org to encourage Scott to kill the project.