Whitehouse & Reed High Speeding Higher Taxes to Rhode Island: Florida Doesn’t Want the Long Term Bills But We’ll Take ‘Em!
From the AP via Turn to Ten.
Rhode Island’s U.S. senators are asking that part of the $2.5 billion in funding for Florida’s high-speed rail projects be redirected to their state after Florida’s governor turned down the money earlier this week.
See, there was a reason Florida turned down that money, a reason that the AP, interestingly, left out of their article.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott canceled plans for a high-speed train line between Orlando and Tampa promoted by President Barack Obama, saying Wednesday 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’s a good chance ridership won’t pay for the operating cost, meaning the state would have to pump more money into the line each year, Scott said.
Now, Rhode Island’s shortfall would probably not reach $3 billion because a Rhode Island rail project would be smaller. But do we have even one dollar in the state budget to spare? It’s hard also not to reflect on the point made by a commenter in the Turn to Ten link:
High speed rail through a state which takes 30 minutes to drive through is even more worthless than would it from Tampa to Orlando.
Pork is bad enough. Pork that turns into an unfunded mandate (i.e., higher taxes) down the road is not just bad, it’s shortsighted and very misguided. Presumably, the good senators are hoping that, when the bill comes due down the road, voters will have forgotten who was in the picture tendering the oversized, federal check – the check that contained in the fine print a recurring … “present” for Rhode Island taxpayers.