By now you know that our Voldemort-looking and acting guber killed the rail project.
I predicted that he would on the Jan. 12 post of my blog. Not because I am clairvoyent, but because I know him. It didn't matter that the federal government was willing to pay nearly all the cost nor that private companies were willing to cover any additional costs.
It was Obama's idea. And for this crook, that was enough.
Rick Scott couldn't just out and out say NO, although he wanted to. He had to go through the motions and say he was giving it "serious" consideration, although the ones who were paying attention knew all along that he was looking for excuses to kill it without having it look blatantly ideological and partisan.
So he started to do what he does best. What all crooks do. LIE.
You don't need to look far to see how well he does it. There is no shortage of material. Heck, you can see it in the clip I have of him in the introduction of this diary, where he won't even acknowledge his own damn signature on incriminating documents.
You can see just last week in my last post, where the SOB vowed not to cut education... and then proposed to gut it almost completely to the tune of $3 billion.
So Rick Scott kept making arguments, some of them recycled in his hastily organized "press conference", (where he never takes questions). All Lies. Let's review:
LIE #1: Governor Voldemort claimed that cost overruns would put Floridians on the hook to fork over $3 billion in matching funds.
UN-F&^King-BELIEVABLE. The federal government has already put aside $2.4 billion in stimulus funds for Florida's portion of the national project. Worst case scenario would be $280 million, and the consortiums of companies set to bid on the line had indicated a willingness to put up their own money in return for a contract! In all, eight consortiums made up of international companies representing 11 countries had lined up to bid on the train that would have run from Orlando International Airport to downtown Tampa, with stops at the Orange County Convention Center, Walt Disney World and Lakeland.
Here's the other thing, the company chosen to build the train would have been contractually bound to cover any cost overruns in construction, as well as any operating deficits for up to 20 years! Companies had said they were willing to accept those terms!
LIE #2: Few would use it, and low ridership would have required state subsidies.
This one really pissed me off. Rick Scott compared the high-speed rail to Amtrak in certain cities. OF COURSE no one rides Amtrak! They don't own the damn railroads! In the most bass-ackward outdated arrangement, Amtrak has to work around the more profitable freight-carrying trains, and this means simple trips can take days and costs tons of money. Anyone with any knowledge would know this and to use that comparison to a dedicated HIGH SPEED RAIL LINE is blatantly misleading. But again, Scott is trying to make excuses.. not look at facts. (When he slammed the Amtrak ridership from Washington to Boston, PolitiFact Florida noted that an 7.15 million people rode regional rail lines in the Northeast last year.)
By the way, the bid documents mentioned in the debunk of LIE#1? They were being written to obligate the bid companies to cover operating losses due to low ridership. (Which again, they indicated they would agree to).
LIE #3: If the project was shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion to Washington.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Transportation called him out on this lie. This issue is one that could have been negotiated... if Scott had ever even bothered to raise it with federal officials. Of course, if you've already made up your mind...
LIE #4: His phony concern about government spending and the deficit.
Hey Gov. Skeletor (and you stupid teabaggers who put him there): Rejecting these federal funds for transportation and infrastructure will NOT reduce the deficit one penny! The funds have already been allocated!! They are just going somewhere else....like wine country.
As far as waste goes, did I mention that we already spent $66 million on this project?
LIE #5: It's better to invest in our ports and expand our highways instead of rail.
First off... Ports? How the F*&K is that going to solve our congestion problem?! For when I travel from Orlando to Tampa taking a fucking canoe from the Atlantic to the Gulf? And you can bet that if Obama HAD offered to upgrade our ports with stimulus funds, this teabagger wouldn't have had any of it.
The highway argument has been used REPEATEDLY by anti-rail advocates, including the guber. In just about every op-ed by these jokers (most with ties to the auto or oil industry), they argued that we should expand I-4 instead.
Okay, here's the problem geniuses. Orlando to Tampa is 84 miles driven. According to figures by Rethuglican Congressman Mica: 73 miles of I-4 will cost $2.9 BILLION dollars (in 2000 dollars). So the entire amount we would receive wouldn't even cover it, and WE ARE GETTING NOTHING AT ALL from the feds to build an extra lane! That's kinda like someone offering to buy either your family or someone else's family a 4-bedroom house and willing to cover almost all the cost, but you turn it down because you want your own family to pay for a used mobile home that costs more. Savvy business man my ass.
PS... don't look for any investment in any transportation project anytime soon. The Florida Dept. of Transportation is rudderless because it is one of Scottie's botched appointments.
LIE #6: He would wait until the FDOT updated ridership and revenue projections -- scheduled for completion within two weeks.
No dice. He couldn't be bothered to wait for the report he said he was waiting on.
Tricky Ricky is basing all of these "facts" on information provided by a Glenn Beckian, Libertarian think tank--the "Reason Foundation", which is known for being anti-rail. (Several commenters pointed out that a certain Koch brother sits on the Board of Trustees.) He also received advice and information from the ever-so-slightly right-wing Heritage Foundation. (I get my own "facts" from Fox News, thank you very much.)
So to recap, he dismissed the entire project with NO ridership study, NO contruction bids, and not even consultation with the FL Senate or House! Yes they are wingnut, but they are none too pleased.
Sen. Thad Altman, R-Vier: "There's no rational reason at all not to allow that to happen -- unless you're afraid of what you might here. We might hear that this thing will work."
LIE #7: "Let's Get to Work!" He will create 700,000 jobs in 7 years.
Oooooooookay. In the short time he's been guber (one month), he is proposing to cut hundreds of state jobs, including teachers and those who serve the neediest among us. With today's announcment, you can add an estimated 48,000 jobs to the pot. These were desperately needed in a state where unemployment is a whopping 12% (and 20% in the construction industry).
Maybe dumbass meant to say LOSE 700,000 jobs in 4 years.
Barely ONE month in office, and already he is the most unpopular governor in our history. And this unilateral dismissal was so shocking, without even consulting his supposed GOP "allies" in the wingnut legislature, that he is being attacked by both the left AND the right on his sudden action. Not that it will make a difference.
And the saga continues.... One month down, 47 to go...
UPDATE: At least we have ONE legislator who is fighting for Florida jobs. It's the lone statewide Democrat: Senator Bill Nelson. He is working with several lawmakers, including the mayors of Tampa and Orlando, to see if he can do an end run around the governor. STOP and think about this for a second. A US Senator is doing the governor's job--working with local leaders to try to bring jobs and economic development to Florida--because our OWN governor is trying to take it away.