UPDATE: On March 2, Gov. Rick Scott filed a response to the senators’ lawsuit. Also, the Florida Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Thursday, March 3.
Florida state legislators have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Scott over his rejection of more than $2 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail line.
Sen. Thad Altman (R) of Melbourne and Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D) of Tampa petitioned the Florida Supreme Court on Feb. 28, seeking an injunction “requiring that (Gov. Rick Scott) accept the ARRA funds and apply the funds to the Florida high speed rail project as appropriated by the Legislature of the State of Florida.”
The lawsuit asserts the governor does not have the authority to reject the funding, stating that power is reserved for the state legislature, and calls his action “an attempted post-hoc veto of an appropriation, simply because he does not agree with the federal directives on how this money is to be spent.”
The lawsuit asks the court to “order (Gov. Scott) to expeditiously accept the funds and apply such funds appropriated by Congress and the Florida Legislature for the Florida high speed rail project.”
Gov. Scott initially announced his rejection of $2.4 billion in federal funding for the Tampa-to-Orlando line on Feb. 16. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation gave the governor until Feb. 25 to reconsider, and then extended that deadline by a week. The governor has stated that he remains opposed to the project.
Shortly after the governor’s Feb. 16 announcement, a veto-proof majority of the Florida Senate signed a letter urging Gov. Scott to reconsider and accept the rail funding.