State Senators Sue Gov. Scott Over Rail Project

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – A bipartisan pair of Florida State Senators has sued Governor Rick Scott in the Florida Supreme Court to force him to accept the federal money for a high-speed rail system.

Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat from Tampa, and Republican Thad Altman of Melbourne, claim Scott went far beyond his authority by rejecting the project. It was given the go-ahead by the Florida legislature during a special session in December 2009.

The Florida Supreme Court responded late Tuesday afternoon with an order for Governor Scott to produce a response to the lawsuit no later than 12:00 p.m. Wednesday. If Governor Scott replies, then Altman and Joyner would have to file a response by 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks to have the court force Scott to “expeditiously accept” the federal money, according to CBS Miami news partner the Miami Herald.

The Supreme Court wants to hear about the following issues: the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the matter; the standing of the legislators to bring the petition; the merits of the petition; the March 4, 2011 deadline for any decision regarding the high-speed rail funds.

The suit is the latest move since Governor Scott rejected the money. Part of his reasoning was that he feared the state would be on the hook for the whole amount, even though U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood assured him the state would not.

Scott also used the rejection to take shots at President Barack Obama and echoed many tea-party points.

“My position remains unchanged,” Governor Scott said in a statement late Tuesday. “I’ve yet to see any evidence that Florida taxpayers would not be on the hook. Senators Altman and Joyner’s disrespect for taxpayers is clear by their lawsuit trying to force the state to spend this money.”

But Scott may not be paying attention. The bipartisan support and near universal support from the business community is not getting through the governor’s my-way-or-the-highway routine. Secretary LaHood said Scott’s claims are “baloney.”

Democrats and Republicans in Florida, and in Washington, blasted Scott’s decision and have been trying to figure out a way around Scott’s decision.

“I’ve previously said I think the governor may have exceeded his authority in this matter,” said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. “The stakes are too high not to seek further review of his decision. We’re talking about $2.4 billion and 24,000 jobs.”

Bipartisan outrage was also directed towards Scott for the fact that the construction and system would have brought many desperately needed jobs to the state. Scott’s decision violated his pledge to do whatever was needed to get jobs to the state.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Andy Carr says:

    Rick Scott is a career criminal. This is a great chance to create jobs and invest in infrastructure that the state would benefit from for generations.

  2. Rick P. says:

    Way to go stupid people of Florida who voted for this criminal or didn’t vote at all. You get the government that you deserve.

  3. rbwfla says:

    LOL I didn’t vote for Scott Did YOU!

  4. Liz says:

    Thank you, Governor Scott. I did not vote for you but I will next time!!!

  5. Brian Richard says:

    The US is lagging behind other countries when it comes to High Speed Rail…..this is a great opportunity to “catch up”.. This political bickering has got to stop……DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!! Rick Scott is a ONE TERM Governor!!!

  6. John P Harty says:

    Scott is correct. Why build a $2.4 billion white elephant. No one is going to use it. The plan is for the train to go from Downtown Tampa to the Orlando Airport & Downtown Orlando. It will stop nowhere near the theme parks. One will still need a rental car or cab. The Miami route would be from Downtown Miami to Downtown Orlando. If it flops, then what. People in Miami-Dade are mad about the Marlins Stadium & the Tunnel; why not the train.

  7. David Hardy says:

    When FL has one of the highest rate of unemployment in the country and when our environment faces so many challenges, surely everyone can understand that a clean quick method of transportation which will bring in billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs is a good thing. Rick Scott needs to think beyond the Tea Party….

  8. Craig says:

    A train is such a waste here. No one will use it and it will cost us a fortune. If you took a train to orlando, then what? Rent a car there? Not really.

  9. Jennie says:

    I agree why bill it when it’s not going to go we’re is most helpful. All I see is another Trirail and Metro rail. We have the worst public transportation systme.

  10. GAIN AND AGEIN says:

    Jennie: Did you put him in Government, a Criminal?

    Florida is #49 in Education, out of 50 states. As well as transportation. But criminals in office, do the MOST harm.

    As for LIZ, you sound stupidly brilliant, are you in politics toooo?

  11. Recallmaster says:

    By the time Dictator Scott is done with Florida most of its citizens will be either unemployed or on welfare, and unable to obtain unemployment because he wants to change all that too. Even his own party knows they have their hands full with this male version of Sarah Palin. Four years with this incompetent at the helm. May God help us all. A recall may be the only way out.

  12. M Bernar says:

    This is what happen because we are bigots. Florida deserves Rick Scott. He is a true reflection of the state/nation, too caught up with our hatred of others to see the big picture. We all knew he was a thief and we voted him in anyway. Pucker up Florida, enjoy the ride.

    1. yokolee says:

      excellent post

      sad but true

  13. NO GUM CHUM says:

    THANK YOU GOV. SCOTT FOR RECOGNIZING SOMETHING USELESS FOR WHAT IT IS: ABSOLUTELY USELESS. TO JUSTIFY CONSTRUCTION COSTS, EVEN IF THE FEDS OFFER TO PAY FOR THIS TURKEY, TICKETS WOULD HAVE TO BE IN AIRLINE TICKET TERRITORY. AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THE COWTOWNS ALONG THE WAY, WHO WOULD YELL DISCRIMINATION IF THERE IS NO IN-BETWEEN STOP. WHEN WILL WE START PAYING FOR WHAT WE ALREADY OWE, AND NOT BUY OTHER JUNK WE DON’t NEED

  14. Greelight says:

    Mr Republican No Gum Chump, just bexause your selfish self does not need something does not mean others may not. You ride your expensive ride to work others walk. Do not think in terms of YOU and then yOU and then the damn poor people. That train means new jobs for Floridians and to alleviate the traffic mess in this state. Maybe some day you can park your Hummer and use a train.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Miami

Tracking Hurricane Matthew: Interactive Maps
Weather Forecast 24/7

Listen Live