TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott of Florida canceled plans for a high-speed train line between Orlando and Tampa promoted by President Obama, saying yesterday that it would cost the state too much, even with $2.4 billion in federal help.
Cost overruns could put Florida on the hook for another $3 billion, and once completed, there is a good chance ridership will not pay for the operating cost, meaning the state would have to pump more money into the line each year, Scott said.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood later released a statement that contradicted Scott’s assessment. “We worked with the governor to make sure we eliminated all financial risk for the state, instead requiring private businesses competing for the project to assume cost overruns and operating expenses,’’ LaHood said.
LaHood said that he was disappointed, but that other states would be happy to get Florida’s money.
Scott’s decision was immediately criticized by politicians from both major parties who support the project.