Saturday, February 26, 2011

Giving Florida a second chance to get hooked on High-Speed Rail's addictive drug; money.

How  come Secretary LaHood didn't give Governors Walker or Kasich a "second chance?"  Why Gov. Scott and Florida?  Didn't that Governor already make his position crystal clear?

LaHood's efforts at protracting the inevitable with this second chance is symptomatic of the Administration's desperation.  To quote Oscar Wilde, "To lose one parent may be regarded as misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."  In this case, losing the first two states required the a face-saving move to salvage the efficacy of the program by punishing Wisconsin and Ohio with the loss of the HSR earmarked federal funds.  

Those two states lost the funds that they certainly could have used for purposes other than HSR.  But, a third state telling the Administration that HSR is actually a financial black hole for the state, regardless of federal funding, exposes the hollowness of this project and it's many faults.  The face, so to speak, can no longer be saved. 

Second chance, my eye!  For whom is this a "second chance?"  I'm sure that back-room negotiations are frantically continuing because Gov. Scott's actions take the wind out of the HSR sails.  This HSR opposition is no longer an issue exclusively in the hands of a handful of "naysayers," "deniers," and NIMBYs.  It is gaining national momentum.

Meanwhile, the endless scandalous predations of our very own CHSRA Board and staff are also reaching the halls of Congress and this adds more fuel to the fire.  

The fight is far from over.  Too many people hope to make too much money from this empty exercise in infrastructure boondoggling to let it go.  In California, the rail authority continues to pour our tax dollars into public relations efforts to keep their costly ship from sinking.  Like on the Titanic, Captain Roelof Van Ark is ordering the re-arrangement of the deck chairs.

Florida: Trains Get Second Chance
Published: Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 6:01 a.m. 
Last Modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

The Obama administration on Friday gave Gov. Rick Scott a week to reconsider his opposition to a revised proposal for high-speed trains between Tampa and Orlando, but the Republican kept up his criticism of the project. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood offered the reprieve after meeting with Mr. Scott in Washington. 

At stake is $2.4 billion that the government would take back if Mr. Scott rejects the project. Mr. LaHood said the governor asked for more information and said he would make a final decision next week. If Florida rejects the money, it would be reallocated to one or more other states seeking high-speed rail funds, including California, New York and Rhode Island. 

“I believe high-speed rail is a federal boondoggle, as I said more than a week ago,” Mr. Scott said after the meeting. “I communicated to Secretary LaHood that as long as Florida remains on the hook for cost overruns, operating costs and paybacks in the case of default, I will vigorously oppose this project.”