Saturday, February 26, 2011

Florida HSR gets a extra week to decide fate


LaHood gives Florida another week for high-speed rail

By Dan Tracy and Mark K. Matthews, Orlando Sentinel
5:19 PM EST, February 25, 2011
The high-speed train between Orlando and Tampa got an unexpected one-week reprieve Friday, just hours after Gov. Rick Scott again rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for the project.
The sudden shift may have been triggered by a possible lawsuit against Scott contending he has overstepped his authority by killing the train. The suit, which could be filed as soon as Monday, is expected to argue that a law passed by the Legislature during a special session in 2009 compels Scott to pursue the train.
Two sources close to the situation said the suit likely would be filed with the state Supreme Court in Tallahassee. It was unclear who would sign on to it.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., first approached U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about an extension Thursday. An aide to Nelson said the senator was acting on behalf of "a member of the Legislature who is part of a group that is considering suing the governor."
In Washington, LaHood said in a statement Friday that he had "decided to give Gov. Scott additional time to review the agreement crafted by local officials from Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland and Miami, and to consult with his staff at the state Department of Transportation."
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