WASHINGTON (CBS4) – Governor Rick Scott decided Friday to give a high-speed rail project one more glance before he rules on it for good.
Scott, who is in Washington to take part in meetings with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on the proposed Florida rail project that would link Tampa to Orlando, put a hold on his decision to reject some $2.4 billion in federal money for the high-speed line.
Scott had rejected the federal money early in February saying the state’s 1 percent share of the cost was too much, and that he doubted the train service would pay for itself once completed, even though Nelson has tried to convince Scott that the project could be completed without putting the state’s finances at risk.
In a reversal Scott has now asked for additional information on the project. LaHood told Nelson after the meeting he agrees to give Florida at least one more week for Scott to reconsider before sending the money to another state.
Nelson said he was encouraged by Friday’s events.
“I am grateful the governor has agreed to listen to the facts on how the state will have no financial responsibility in high speed rail. I’m especially grateful to Secretary [ Ray ] LaHood for giving Florida at least one more week before our money goes to another state,” Nelson said in a prepared statement. “Hopefully, this will be enough time for people of good intentions to come together and put Florida’s interests first. There is too much at stake for us not to try everything we can. ”
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