Rick Scott Can Keep High-Speed Rail Away

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So rules Florida’s Supreme Court. The decision, reprinted in full after the jump, is just one page long and succinctly notes that there’s absolutely nothing that prevents Governor Scott from declining federal rail dollars. The suit filed by state senators Thad Altman, a Republican, and Arthenia Joyner, a Democrat, basically argued that Scott overreached by turning down the money after the legislature had approved it. The Obama administration hopes to spend $53 billion to expand passenger bullet trains over the next six years, but whether that money ever gets appropriated or not, it won’t be going through Tallahassee any time soon. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will send this $2.4 billion project elsewhere.

THAD ALTMAN, ET AL.
vs. HON. RICK SCOTT, GOVERNOR
___________________________________________________________________
Petitioner(s)
Respondent(s)

On March 2, 2011, petitioners filed with the Court an “Emergency Verified

Petition for Writ of Quo Warranto, or in the Alternative, for Writ of Mandamus, or

other Equitable Relief.” The petition was filed as an original proceeding pursuant

to article V, section 3(b)(8) of the Florida Constitution. The emergency nature of

the petition is based on an alleged March 4, 2011, federal deadline by which to

“accept” $2.4 billion in federal grant funds for construction of a high speed rail

project. The petitioners allege that Governor Scott has exceeded his constitutional

authority and violated the separation of powers under the Florida Constitution.

The Court has reviewed the petition, response, and reply, has heard oral argument,

and has considered the factual allegations and legal arguments. Based on the

limited record before the Court and a review of the federal and state law relied on

by the parties, the Court has determined that the petitioners have not clearly

demonstrated entitlement to quo warranto, mandamus, or any other relief.

Accordingly, the emergency petition is hereby denied.

NO MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL BE PERMITTED.

CANADY, C.J., PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, POLSTON, LABARGA, and
PERRY, JJ., concur.

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