"I have urged the Governor to reconsider going forward and allow the
private sector to assume the risk and any future costs for the
project," Mica said. "I made this appeal to the Governor this morning.
With the federal government assuming 90% of the cost of the project, I
am disappointed the private sector will not have an opportunity to even
offer innovative proposals to help finance the balance of the costs and
to construct and operate this system."

Among several states that have received grants under President Obama's
high-speed rail initiative, only Florida and California have plans for
true high-speed lines and Florida's defection is regarded by many as a
severe blow to the overall high-speed plan. When two states with lesser
goals-Ohio and Wisconsin-turned back their grants last year, those
funds largely were divided between Florida and California.

florida-cancelled.jpgIn rejecting the federal funds, Florida's governor said the state
risked responsibility for billions of dollars in cost overruns. He also
said: "The government has become addicted spending beyond its means and
we cannot continue this flawed policy."

A little over a year ago, the Obama Administration unveiled its $US 8
billion high speed initiative. This has since expanded to the $US 53
billion that the President now says he wants to invest in high speed
corridors in the next six years.

Condemnation of Scott's decision was swiftly forthcoming. "Governor
Scott rejected billions of federal dollars that would have created jobs
and supercharged Florida's tourism industry," said Mr Howard Learner,
executive director of the US Environmental Law & Policy Center.
"Instead, he placed short-sighted partisan politics above people's
transportation needs and job creation. Governor Scott's true
motivations were reflected in his partisan statements criticizing
President Obama."

Mr William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation
Association (APTA) was more circumspect in issuing the following

"While recent attention has focused on three states (Florida,
Wisconsin, and Ohio) returning their federal grants for high speed
rail, the facts are that 28 states are forging ahead in planning and
implementing high-speed and inter-city passenger rail improvements.
These states recognise the critical importance of investing to create a
modern, intermodal 21st century transport system to accommodate
expected population and economic growth. High-speed rail will be an
economic boon to the communities and states it serves and will help
relieve highway and aviation congestion in many corridors. America is
expected to grow dramatically in the next few decades. We must make
infrastructure investments now just as President Eisenhower did in the
1950s in creating the interstate highway system. President Obama and
the governors of these 28 states are to be congratulated for their
Image: Florida DOT