Florida Gov. Rick Scott is rejecting more than $2 billion in federal money to build a high-speed rail system between Orlando and Tampa.
“This project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits,” Scott said in a written statement.
Scott joins two other Republican governors in rejecting federal funds for a bullet train.
Numerous business groups, including Associated Industries of Florida, supported the project.
“We were hoping the process could go forward with the private sector,” said Barney Bishop III, president and chief executive officer of Associated Industries. “The problem is that ridership numbers are always optimistic and construction numbers are minimized so it ends up costing more. The governor is not looking at any more liabilities for Florida taxpayers, and we understand where he’s coming from. Economically and fiscally, that has to be a superior reason to anything else.”
Scott’s decision is a real blow to the small business community, said Alison Hewitt, central Florida chapter president of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.
“This is very disappointing at a time when small businesses are doing everything they can to stay open and try to grow,” Hewitt said. High-speed rail “would have been a true trickle-down opportunity.”