Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Florida rejects high-speed rail money

Let's hope that Governor Brown does the same. From the Anti-Planner:

It's dead again
Feb 16 2011

Florida Governor Rick Scott killed the Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail project, seven years after the state previously killed it once before. Scott cited three reasons for killing it: the potential for cost overruns, overly optimistic ridership projections, and the fact that, if the project turned out to be a dud and the state shut it down because it couldn’t afford to operate it, it would have to return the federal grants to the federal government.

Where does this leave Obama’s high-speed rail plan? On one hand, Immobility Secretary LaHood now has nearly $2.5 billion he can give to other states for high-speed rail. But with most of the freight railroads opposing moderate-speed rail on their tracks (the only major exception being Union Pacific in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor), projects that aim to share tracks with freight trains are going nowhere.

That leaves California, the only other state (besides Florida) that planned to build tracks exclusively for high-speed trains. Even if LaHood gives all $2.5 billion to California, that state will still have only about $10 billion in hand to build a project that will probably cost at least $65 billion.

With Republicans in the House seemingly dead set against spending any more federal dollars on high-speed rail, it seems likely that the program is dead.



At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few of the state's newspaper editors offered acid commentary of their own:

St. Petersburg Times:

It is a reckless, devastating decision that has nothing to do with the merits of rail and everything to do with Scott's obsession with courting the tea party movement and fighting the Obama administration. ...
The consequences of Scott's grandstanding are clear. More than $2.4 billion from Washington? Gone. Five thousand construction jobs? Gone. A modern transportation link between two of the largest cities in the fourth-largest state? Gone. Thousands of additional jobs serving the line; billions of dollars more in private-sector investment; and the chance for an ever bigger bang by extending the system from Orlando to Miami? Gone, gone, gone.

Tampa Tribune:

He is throwing away countless hours of bipartisan work applying for and winning the money. Florida overcame competition from just about every other metropolitan region in the country. ...
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio calls it "the worst decision by a governor in my 26 years in public life." It will doom Florida, she says, to "the same-old, same-old," while other states invest for the future.

Orlando Sentinel:

On Wednesday, he seemed utterly clueless about what the state would gain from a high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa. ...
Mr. Scott needs to do what would benefit all Florida, not what might play well before his Tea Party fans.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Moreover, state transportation officials had fashioned agreements where the train's private operator — not the state — would pay any cost overruns and the cost of operating and maintaining the trains for 30 years. The project would have generated an estimated 23,000 construction jobs and about another 1,000 permanent jobs needed to operate and maintain it. Yet Gov. Scott seemed oblivious to much of this in announcing his ill-advised decision.
Clueless, reckless, oblivious. That's the fellow a shift of just 35,000 votes in the 5.3 million cast last November would have kept in the private sector.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one with any sense reads newspaper editorials expecting to get anything but conventional wisdom. For a more in-depth analysis of the Florida proposal, try Wendell Cox

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cox works for think tanks funded by the Kochs. A man finds it much simpler to be wrong when his salary depends on it.

Conventional wisdom? Scott WON the election - doesn't that mean his point of view IS the "conventional wisdom"?

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Dismissing Cox over his funding---assuming that's even true---is nothing but a variation of an ad hominem argument. How about coming to grips with his analysis and showing us where exactly he's "wrong"? Governor Scott didn't decide to cancel the Florida HSR until after the election. The conventional wisdom---especially among "progressives"---supports HSR.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The CAHSR program is still going. The burden of proof is on you, no need for anyone to debunk the counter arguments.

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dismissing Cox over his funding---assuming that's even true---is nothing but a variation of an ad hominem argument.

--> I don't think you understand ad hominem, strange since it seems to be the primary weapon in your bag of tricks.

If I said "Cox is a fool, therefore his argument is not valid" - that is ad hominem. I am attacking him, and not his argument.

If I say "Cox is paid to say X - so no conclusion can be drawn from the fact he said X, because whether or not X is true, he will say it", that is a truism.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

More importantly, it provides you with an excuse to not come to grips with what he's actually saying.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it provides you with an excuse to not come to grips with what he's actually saying.

--> I don't have to. I disagree with his conclusion, but that's irrellevant. I'm not a policy maker. I'd rather go ride my bike than dissect his argument for academic purposes.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Ride on, dude. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your misinformation.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"The CAHSR program is still going. The burden of proof is on you, no need for anyone to debunk the counter arguments."

It's on life support now. They don't have enough money to build it and no prospects of getting it. The state legislature is getting restless about the cost of the proposal, since the state will have to pay for the inevitable cost overruns and to operate the system if/when it's ever built, since it obviously will never be self-supporting. These people have laid out the problems with the proposal in great detail. People who are serious about the HSR issue are reading this document.


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