March 04, 2011

Supreme Court ruling kills Florida high-speed project

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A BID to prevent Florida governor Mr Rick Scott from rejecting $US 2.4 billion in Federal grant funding for a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando today ended in failure after the State Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Scott's favour.

The case was brought by Senators Thad Altman and Arthenia Joyner, who argued Scott was acting outside his jurisdiction in rejecting the grant because responsibility for administering federal funds rests solely with the state legislature and not the governor. However, the judges ruled that favouring the senators would put the court in a position where it would be forcing the governor to spend money that had not yet been received by the state. A request for a rehearing was rejected by the court.

Within minutes of the verdict, Scott spoke to US Transportation Secretary Mr Ray LaHood and reiterated his refusal to accept the funds. Soon after, LaHood issued the following statement: "The Obama Administration's bold high-speed rail plan will not only create jobs and reinvigorate our manufacturing sector in the near term, it is a crucial and strategic investment in America's future prosperity. I know that states across America are enthusiastic about receiving additional support to help bring America's high-speed rail network to life and deliver all its economic benefits to their citizens."

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