MIAMI (CBS4) – The political gamesmanship between the White House and Florida Governor Rick Scott over a high-speed rail project could be just beginning.

According to the Huffington Post, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is set to meet with Florida’s congressional delegation to discuss a way to circumvent Governor Scott’s rejection of $2 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed rail line in the Sunshine State.

LaHood will have bipartisan support behind him in Washington. Immediately after Scott made his decision, Republican Congressman John Mica was very critical of Scott’s decision.

“I am deeply disappointed,” Mica said. “This is a huge setback for the state of Florida, our transportation, economic development, and important tourism industry.”

LaHood had called members of Florida’s congressional delegation on Wednesday to discuss the matter and the delegation encouraged him to find a way to go forward with the project without Scott’s support.

The problem for LaHood is that the federal money only covers 90 percent of the overall costs. The state of Florida was to invest $280 million to finish the funding for the project. But Scott’s decision on Wednesday effectively killed the project and potentially cost thousands of Floridians jobs.

The Obama Administration could pick up the entire bill, but that would set a precedent for other governors to take similar actions to Scott to avoid having to pay for major projects.

It’s a politically delicate situation for the White House as well. The Obama administration is very high on a national high-speed rail system to help alleviate both traffic and environmental problems. But the GOP has been cool on the project since the beginning and hasn’t seen a need.

Plus, if the White House finally abandons the project and the money is shipped to another state; Floridians may not remember that it was Scott who killed the project and instead take it out on the White House during the 2012 election.

The Obama administration is working from an advantageous position over Scott. The high-speed rail project enjoys bi-partisan support in Washington, DC and was so important to the GOP-led legislature in Tallahassee that a special session was called simply to vote on the project.

Even members of Scott’s own party in Tallahassee now are questioning whether Scott even had the authority to act without the consent of the state legislature.

“There is this pesky thing called a constitution that limits authority,” said the Republican chairman of the Senate Budget Committee JD Alexander. “I still believe the genius of America isn’t just democracy, but it’s divided government and limitations on each individual’s ability to act unilaterally.”

Scott said Wednesday that there was too much financial risk involved for Florida to invest the money and said the project could cost the state far more than that in the long-run.

LaHood countered Scott’s argument that the state could be on the hook for more money than originally estimated saying that there were no financial risks for the state, but instead, private businesses would compete for the project to assume cost overruns and operating expenses.

(© 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 (11)
  1. mike reagan says:

    between cutting jobs at florida prissons and now the high speed rail.who is gov scott really llooking out for.not the working men and women in florida

  2. Richie says:

    The federal government is going to force a state to do what it wants not good.
    You must look at the whole picture with this because we get lied to about almost
    everything we can not afford this right now you know they will say one thing about
    the cost and we end up paying. They will just raise your taxes or other fees to
    pay is that what you want.

  3. Wally Rust says:

    @ Mike -looks like “Let’s get to work” meant lets get to work screwing the working class folks of Florida out of jobs (prison guards, state workers, construction workers, et al) and money (take 5% for their pensions out of their already 47th lowest public employees saleries).

    @ Duane – your ignorant bigotry is showing. “All of America” is only the 45% of the Republicans(probably the Faux News watchers), All the elected officials in DC, whether you like them or not, are citizens, and NONE of us are “from this country” – we are all descendants of immigrants, unless you are Native American. And I’d bet you if Bill Clinton could run again he’d win. You are out of touch with reality. Maybe YOU’RE the one who should go back to their home country??

  4. mike says:

    What does Obama know about High speed rail service.
    He can’t even find his own Birth Certificate and school records.
    Get rid of Obama and a lot of the problems in our country will go away.
    Our elected officials are afraid to broach the subject in Congress.
    Our Congressmen and senators need to grow some B%$@.
    Congress needs to shut down until we see the Real Birth Certificate and schoold records.
    What ever happened to “For the People”
    Impeach Obama!

    1. KEW says:

      It must be hard for you to lead a life with such shallow and bigoted views. The people elected our President and you should consider supporting what our gov’t is trying to accomplish and what could bring a lift in our state economy.

    2. fltxag says:

      Impeach Rick Scot!!!!

      1. fltxag says:

        Mike, learn spelling and punctuation dude. You look like a moron. Why did you capitalize High in the first sentence and what are schoold records? Whey are the words real birth certificate capitalized. You’re stupid, aren’t you?

  5. Peter says:

    What the story above does not tell you is that Florida would be on the hook for a 2.8 billion pay-back to the Federal Government if the project fails. All studies show that the line would not be profitable and the foriegn contractors who are bidding on it could bail and not honor the “cost over-runs and operating expenses”. Rick Scott should negotiate the “pay back” clause out and build the Orlando to Miami route first, since it is at least shown to have profit potential!

    1. Dave Brown says:

      Ya “create” jobs? is this true that foriegn Contractors are bidding? if so here we go again with jobs going out the window!!

  6. Jim says:

    Some people (oddly mostly to the left) want to blame Republicans for not supporting HS rail in the states. I think many are missing the point that most states are already on the verge of bankruptcy. HS rail is a good idea as oil prices climb again. However, most states simply don’t have the money to participate just now. They can’t just divert money from other things given the fact that most are cutting back wherever they can just to stay solvent.

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