It's no secret that many in the right-wing media are not fans of President Obama's plan to develop high-speed passenger rail lines throughout the country. However, the right-wing media's reporting on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to turn down federal money to build a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando has been particularly one-sided. Several reports have failed to mention the tens of thousands of jobs that the high-speed rail project would have brought to the state.
From Doug Powers, writing at MichelleMalkin.com:
Florida's governor is as uneasy as many Americans about getting on board with the "conductor of the train to the future" for a fast ride to economic disaster.
That sound you hear is other governors clamoring for Florida's share of the federal cash, but hopefully some stand their ground and understand that they're merely drowning states being thrown hugely expensive anvils. ["Florida Gov Rejects High Speed Rail Funds; 'Too Costly to Taxpayers,' " MichelleMalkin.com, 2/16/11]
From Lou Dolinar, writing at National Review Online:
Florida governor Rick Scott has just rejected $2.4 billion in federal high-speed-rail funds for his state, at the same time blasting the administration's economic policies for making the U.S, and Florida, uncompetitive. There's nothing to add. His press release is pitch perfect. ["Gov. Rick Scott Kills High-Speed Rail for Florida," The Corner at National Review Online, 2/16/11]
From Fox News' America's Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER (co-host): News out of Tallahassee, Florida. Rick Scott, the new Republican governor, now rejecting plans to build a high-speed rail train from Tampa to Orlando. In effect, rejects up to $3 billion in federal money. The governor saying moments ago, government cannot spend more than it takes in. So Rick Scott, following what we saw in New Jersey with Chris Christie, rejecting more money for a tunnel to be built from New Jersey to New York City. Also, Republican governors in the state of Ohio and Wisconsin have also rejected plans for high-speed rail in their state. Rick Scott, following suit, along with others, moments ago in Tallahassee. Interesting development there.
MARTHA MacCALLUM (co-host): And that was one of the hallmarks of what the president wants to see growing, high-speed rail in this country. So, interesting dichotomy there. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 2/16/11]
From Fox Business' Varney & Co.:
STUART VARNEY (host): Now, I've got breaking news for you. Florida's governor, Rick Scott, is rejecting federal money for a Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail project. Even though the government would have paid as much as $2.8 billion of the cost, Governor Scott has just rejected it entirely.
We're awaiting more details on this, but other states have made the same moves recently because of the additional funding they, the states, would have to come up with to complete these projects. Rick Scott says no to high-speed rail. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 2/16/11]
What none of this coverage mentions is the fact that the high-speed rail project Scott rejected would have brought an estimated 23,000 new jobs to the state of Florida, with 45,000 jobs indirectly created. Given that Scott ran on a platform of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years, it would seem worth pointing out that his decision to cancel the high-speed rail project sets him back in achieving that goal.
Additionally, the coverage ignored any benefit that the project might bring in terms of increased tourism to the Tampa and Orlando areas, and the fact that two studies have projected that the new rail line would have enough riders to cover operating costs. But the right-wing media seem intent on cheerleading Scott's decision and simply ignoring its economic effects.