The above link pretty much sums up the basic facts around the current push to get a high speed rail Link between Tampa and Orlando, and by extension, trying to apply a densely urban mass transit paradigm to a State like Florida in order to link major urban areas in the State.
It is , quite simply, a black hole for taxpayers money. Senator Paula Dockery has done impressive work in exposing this issue for the fraud that it is.
She did it the old fashioned way, she used facts and figures that make it obvious to all, that every person who would buy a ticket on this proposed rail system would be buying a ticket that is supplemented by the Florida tax base up to 90% of the actual cost of the ticket. If the decision was to charge the rail passenger the true cost involve in moving him from Point A to Point B, then the rail system would sit unused because it would cost-prohibitive for the average user.
It was, with only minimal amount of effort, easy to determine the fact that for a society to provide rail service to its population, you must be willing to supplement the system with tax dollars.. period.
The fact are indisputable and Senators Dockery and Storms have been on the "tip of the spear" fighting this abortion. They are to be commended for their efforts. For Senator Dockery, I suspect this is going to be the breakout issue that is going to make her competitive in the Governor's race. Bill McCollum, who has spent his life running for the "Next Political Office", has shown himself to be a mere Crist Clone, glibly supporting this rail initiative in hopes he can, by his support, buy votes to get him elected.
Senator Atwater also appears to have dedicated his life to running for the "Next Political Office", in this case Chief Financial Officer. I may be naive, but to be the man who called a Special Session of the Florida Legislature in order to force the passage of a mass transit system that will, WITHOUT A DOUBT, put additional burden on an already overtaxed populace is not a trait I am looking for in our next CFO.
Obama and the Democrats enacted at the beginning of 2009 one of the most monumental, poorly planned and wasteful spending bills in the history of mankind. As I said in my earlier post:
"Light rail is a feel good project pushed by Democrats from densely populated urban districts who think everyone should have a cheap Subway station. I (and a lot of other Republicans in NW Florida) are upset that just because Obama throws "free money" out there, we Republicans just shrug our shoulders and say , "well, since you insist… we will take it" . This proposed rail system is a Pandora's Box of taxes and fees that are going to be fostered on the average Floridian for generations to come once this crack pot scheme is up and running.... Bottom Line: This is a REAL BAD IDEA. This project, if enacted, will be the Poster Child of Obama's failed Stimulus Plan. And I am upset that when the Democrats in DC said "Jump", the reaction of our Republican Senate Leader and House Leader was "How High?" and called a special session. This does not endear them to their base or to the ever expanding Tea Party people."
This is a core issue of principle for Republicans. It is not an issue that can be painted in subtle shades gray. It is a stark issue in black and white. Is the Republican party of Florida going to go back to its small government, financially responsible roots or is it to continue to be creature of the "Charlie Crist" Republicans; Republicans who are just concerned about getting elected to next highest office and willing to spend the people's money with abandon, in hopes of buying their way into the voters heart?
Finally, there is the question of integrity and it has to do with the apparent tolerance of allowing Senator J.D. Alexander to take part in this debate. After calling this "Special Session", the first action our leaders in the Republican party, from Charlie Crist down, should have done is insist that Senator Alexander recuse himself from this debate. Indeed, he should have been told to tell his staff to go home and he should have left Tallahassee as well. His cousin recused himself from the House debate, yet Senator Alexander says he has to consult with lawyers to see if he has a legitimate "Conflict of Interest". Please, if this rail bill is enacted, Senator Alexander stands to make millions. Even my fourteen year old son understands that Senator Alexander has a massive conflict of interest. For the Senator to say he has to "consult lawyers" is an insult to the people of Florida. Does he think of us as fools?
It is tolerance of such obvious "Good Ole Boy" corruption that is causing people to desert the Republican Party in droves. If we Republicans at the local level want to have any hope of convincing people we are the party of honor and integrity, then I expect every Republican in the legislature to demand Senator Alexander to walk away from this debate. And, for the good of the party, Senator Alexander should never run for public office again, because it is now obvious that personal integrity is not a priority for him.
It is gut-check time for the current Republicans in elected office. Time to show some backbone and say no to this absurd project and time to tell those Republicans like Senator Alexander that we have no tolerance for such immature, selfish behavior and judgment as he has displayed.