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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dean Cannon 'skeptical' rail backers can eliminate risk for the state



House Speaker Dean Cannon would still support high-speed rail in Florida if ...

"If there's a way to do it without leaving the state exposed to an unfunded liability, absolutely. We're interested to see that, and I think that makes sense," Cannon said in an interview this morning. (Background here.)

But he added: "I'm skeptical that there's a way to do it without leaving the state exposed."

Gov. Rick Scott last week blew up the state's high-speed rail plans and gave little heads-up to state and local officials who spent a decade lining it up. "He's got his own style, and I applaud him for at least being decisive and taking action," Cannon said.

The flap has raised new questions about SunRail, a Central Florida commuter line that costs Florida more money and could, theoretically, turn into a bigger "boondoogle" for the state.

"I think and I would hope that government would see it as exactly the opposite," Cannon said.

"It's a reasonable cooperation between local, state and federal government. There's been more planning, there's been more information and there's been more evaluation of those long-term risks with commuter rail than high-speed rail," Cannon said. "And at least up until now, the governor has not expressed the same concern with commuter rail."


[Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 2:09pm]


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