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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Florida's Scott asks Florida Supreme Court to dismiss HSR lawsuit


Today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott filed a response with the Florida Supreme Court regarding a lawsuit filed yesterday by two state senators who say Scott acted beyond his executive authority in refusing to accept federal funds for the state’s high-speed rail project.

“State senators whose policy preferences have not prevailed in the political process ask this court to step into, and take over, the planning, implementation and operation of a proposed high-speed rail line,” the response reads. “Governor Scott has announced, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, his determination that the high-speed rail project is not wise policy and that it will ultimately prove detrimental to the taxpayers of this state. This is a decision, by virtue of his election and his constitutional authority, that the governor is entitled to make.”

In order to ensure the state accepts the federal high-speed rail dollars, the court would have to order the legislature to enact specific appropriations for $2.27 billion, order the governor not to veto the legislation and, if he does veto it, order the legislature to override that veto, the response says.

“It goes without saying that such an unprecedented order would render the separation-of-powers doctrine utterly meaningless,” according to the document.

In addition, the petitioners have ignored the fact that the federal government has said it will only award funds to Florida if the governor “expresses unequivocal and unqualified support” for high-speed rail.

“Accordingly, the court would also have to either order the secretary of the United States Department of Transportation to change his policy or order the governor to publicly reverse his policy position on the topic of high-speed rail,” the response reads. “Again, such relief lies far beyond anything this court is empowered to do.”

Scott is requesting that the petition be dismissed.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/2/2011