Time's Grunwald: Florida Gov. Scott Slaughtered Federal 'Gift Horse' of High-Speed Rail, Sent 'Corpse Back to Washington'
"It's one thing to look a gift horse in the mouth. It's quite another thing to slaughter a gift horse and send its disemboweled corpse back to Washington."
That's how Time magazine senior correspondent Michael Grunwald characterized Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott's decision to spurn a federal Department of Transportation high-speed rail grant for the Sunshine State.
"This was the nation's most shovel-ready high-speed project, and the state wasn't required to spend a dime to build it," Grunwald noted in his February 16 Swampland blog post.
In fairness, Grunwald did note that the economic feasibility of Tampa-to-Orlando was "actually a tougher call" than other commuter rail and mass transit projects Scott has opposed.
What's more, Grunwald noted that Scott suggested it would make more sense for the Department of Transportation to spend money on "port deepenings in Jacksonville and Miami and highway widenings on I-95 and I-4."
Of course, the high-speed rail money is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. The $2.4 billion in money for that project cannot be reallocated to port deepenings or highway improvements, even though there's an argument to be had for "investing" in expanding that existing infrastructure as opposed to taking a huge gamble on the dubious economic returns of a high speed passenger rail project.