I know what I wrote on my last SunRail post and I mean it. I was on my way out the door and I didn't have time to clarify myself. Some people, like those who commented on Practical State, don't understand that with the death of High Speed Rail, SunRail is as good as dead:
It was supposed to be a done deal. The first phase of the SunRail commuter rail system, connecting 12 stops in Central Florida from DeBary to Sand Lake Road in Orlando, had lined up nearly all of the money it needed to get started, but Governor Scott put $235 million in SunRail contracts on hold.
Now, even some of SunRail's fiercest supporters worry the project is in trouble.
"I'm very concerned. I never would've believed he'd walk away from high-speed rail," former Orange County commissioner Linda Stewart told WFTV.
Stewart now worries the Governor is ready to stop SunRail just like he shut down high-speed rail from Orlando to Tampa.
"We certainly don't need him dismantling both," Steward said. "If he doesn't think that it's viable, he will."
Some of the toughest SunRail critics say the state is paying as much as $10.6 million a mile to buy tracks from CSX, making it the most expensive rail deal in the U.S.
"If you can't afford high-speed rail, you can't afford SunRail," tea party activist Jason Hoyt said.
Let me take a few minutes to give mad props to Jason Hoyt. That man is the backbone of the Tea Party movement here in Central Florida. There are many great leaders and many great groups, but I just wanted to say that this man is pure gold and that he is someone that you would want on your side.
The state is on the hook to cover SunRail operating costs for the first seven years, and tea party activists, along with some state lawmakers, want the Governor to stand on principle.
"We have to be honest with ourselves and face that reality. We just can't afford these programs," Hoyt said.
Tuesday afternoon, State Representative Scott Randolph of Orlando told WFTV he believes the Governor has less say over SunRail. He believes leaders in the House and Senate can still push the project through, unless the Governor convinces them otherwise.
That is... unfortunate. As a matter of public info, Scott Randolph's District Office is at:
If you are unable to visit his District Office due to illness, no gas money, or can't get time off work, his District Office phone: (407) 893-3084
Again, this is public info and it's not like I found unlisted numbers nor am I pointing you to his home. That would be wrong. If you do visit or call his office, please be respectful and no violence or threats.
However it is time to show these people we mean business. How this guy survived the sweep last November, I will never know. But a lot of Republicans want SunRail too, so I don't know. Maybe it's time to vote the lot out of office.
If I was Rick Scott, I'd call their bluff. I would do so while beating people over the head with Tri-Rail.
And he pointed to Tri-Rail commuter line from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach counties as an example.
"Look at ridership studies. There's no way in the world that we're not going to have operating losses," Scott told reporters this morning. "I mean, look at Tri-Rail. I mean, Tri-Rail is almost $65 million in operating costs. The fares only cover $10 million of it. Right now each of you as taxpayers you help to subsidize to the tune of $35 million a year.
"So if you look at the risk of cost overruns, if you look at the ridership studies, if you look at the fact that if we make a mistake and we’re wrong we have to give $2.4 billion back to the federal government, it’s not worth the risk."
Oh look, someone's listening!