Although the Obama administration and many progressive groups loudly tout the benefits of high speed rail in the U.S., the projects are running into trouble -- even after obtaining federal funding. State governors are refusing billions of dollars from Washington and shuddering the projects. The latest example comes this week, as newly-elected Florida Governor Rick Scott sent back $2 billion from the federal government for a high speed rail that would have connected Tampa and Orlando. This marks the third Republican governor to refuse such funds. Why don't they want free money? They fear it will cost their states more than they're gaining. Timothy Williams reports for the New York Times:
Mr. Scott said at a news conference in Tallahassee on Wednesday that cost overruns related to the Tampa-to-Orlando line could leave Florida taxpayers stuck with a $3 billion tab. Further, he said that if the state deemed the project too costly after having started construction, it would be required to return the $2.4 billion to the federal government. He also said he believed that estimates of riders and revenue for the rail line were too optimistic, and that state taxpayers would have been left to pay for subsidies to keep the line running because it would be unable to pay for itself.
Mr. Scott said that although one study had projected that three million people would use the Tampa-to-Orlando line annually, only 3.2 million people rode Amtrak's Acela trains in the Northeast Corridor in 2010, even though the population centers along the Acela route have as many as eight times the population of the area that would be served by the proposed Florida line.
Read the full story at the New York Times.