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Feds Give Florida Major Bullet Train Bucks

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS4) – The dream of Florida lawmakers to have a high-speed rail line which would run from Miami to Orlando and other parts of the state just got a step closer.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Florida would receive $342 million for a bullet train from Tampa to Orlando. Word of the windfall came today from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood during a noontime phone call with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

Florida officials can thank Wisconsin and Ohio for this unexpected boon because neither state wanted the proffered high-speed rail money.

The $342 million comes on top of $2.05 billion the federal government has already awarded Florida and another $280 million the state has agreed to pay.

“With the federal money today and the previous commitment, plus what the state has pledged, the $2.65 billion price tag for construction would be fully paid for,” said Nelson in a written statement. “The federal government has stepped up and done its part. There should be no reason now why this can’t get done.”

The decision puts the ball squarely in Governor-elect Rick Scott’s court. During his campaign, Scott opposed high-speed rail. The New York Times has reported he will take another look at the numbers to see if the project is viable in his view.

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