WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Gov. Scott Eyes Sunrail

Ashford Train Depot

It was a vision for the future.

A high-speed link between Tampa and Orlando on the verge of being built until Rick Scott slammed on the brakes.

"The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers."

Now, the governor's taking aim at another train: Sunrail. It's a planned 61-mile commuter line between Daytona Beach and Orlando.

Lawmakers have already committed to spending more than $400 million to buy the track from the railroad company CSX, but Scott has put the project on hold.

"I want to make sure the community understands the fact that this money's coming out of their allocation out of the Florida Department of Transportation, and then, finally, making sure I understand what I can and can't do."

The governor says he'll make a decision by the end of next week on whether Sunrail sunsets.

During the governor's whistle-stop tour, he's heard plenty of opposition from his tea party base, but he's also lending his ear to his old friends in the corporate community, and they're pleading with him to keep this train on track.

"I think he listens to us just like he listens to everybody else."

Barney Bishop heads AIF, one of the state's leading business lobbies, where Governor Scott was a board member. Bishop says he's been talking to Scott about the promise CSX has made to take the Sunrail money and build a major freight hub in Polk County.

"All along that freight rail line is going to be industry, it's going to be warehousing, it's going to be retail. All of those things are very important because it all revolves around transportation and logistics."

But ultimately, behind it all are taxpayer dollars... Enough to enflame the tea party, leading lawmakers...

"This is a bad deal!"

And, just maybe, the man who's already made his name by bringing government down to size.

Some Sunrail supporters say if Scott does decide against the project, they'll consider suing, saying he has no authority to kill Sunrail because the money's already been allocated and contracts signed.


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