MIAMI (CBS4) – Governor Rick Scott just got a big political smackdown and many of his fellow Republicans helped administer it. A day after Scott said no thanks to $2.4 billion in federal money for a planned high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando angry state lawmakers are trying to put the brakes on his decision.
Scott defended his rejection of the money. He argued, “Capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional three billion dollars.”READ MORE: Psychologist shares how to talk to your child about Texas school shooting
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The governor’s critics say the study he quoted is biased and flawed. They also note that private companies had vowed to cover any cost overruns. On Thursday 26 Florida state senators, Republicans and Democrats alike, assembled a veto proof majority and sent a letter to the U.S. Transportation Department. They are pleading to keep the federal money and its promise of badly needed jobs for the construction and operation of the proposed high speed rail line. The letter said in part, “Politics should have no place in the future of Florida’s transportation, as evidenced by this letter of bipartisan support.”
In Washington the same bipartisan rebuke was aimed Scott’s way. Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson said, “We are trying to figure out how to save our high speed rail system.”MORE NEWS: MDPD: Miami Beach Senior High Teacher Arrested For Engaging In Child Pornography
Governor Scott, who rode to office on Tea Party support for his pledge for smaller government, is now learning a hard political lesson. Campaign pledges don’t derail one political necessity—namely making sure lawmakers in your own political party are on board before you make a major decision involving jobs and money in their backyards.