Well, Rick Scott is now officially governor of the state of Florida. Which means the clock is officially ticking on his upcoming decision to approve or kill the federally funded high-speed rail project between Orlando and Tampa. (Click here to vote in our one-click poll on this question.)
Ever since Gov. Scott's election, uncertainty about the project has been increasing. True, the federal government has stepped up and provided nearly all of the funding estimated to be needed to build the Tampa-Orlando line. But Gov. Scott still isn't thrilled at the notion.
On Jan. 7, the Orlando Sentinel reported that a new study, written by two members of a Libertarian group and released by advisors to Gov. Scott, casts grave doubts on both the project's estimated construction costs and the ridership projections. Costs could escalate by another $1.2 billion, the study indicated. One of the study's authors called ridership projections "wildly optimistic." Subsidies would likely be required to sustain the line in the future, the study indicated.
The study concluded that the governor should either kill the project or ensure that contracts with the system operator leave no possibility of state funding being made available.
The Sentinel reported that Scott was waiting to review another study. "At that point, I would go through and see what the feasibility is and what the cost to the state will be," the Sentinel quoted Scott as saying. The governor also said Scott was planning to talk to potential bidders about funding for the project.
So, what do you think? Will Gov. Scott ultimately approve the project? Or is it going to prove too costly, causing him to kill it? Vote here in our simple, "yes-or-no," one-click poll.
Of course, we'd also like to hear what you have to say about the project. So I encourage you to provide your comments below.