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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Chamber web site still says investing in rail "is exactly what our government should be doing"



A spokeswoman for the Florida Chamber of Commerce last week said that even though organization had supported exploring high speed rail in the state, they backed Gov. Rick Scott's decision to kill it.

"We're confident in their review process that they have determined the return on investment simply will not be a positive thing for Florida taxpayers at this time," spokeswomen Edie Ousley told the St. Petersburg Times.

That's fine to change your mind, but take a look at the Chamber website. It still includes this in an "issues" statement on high speed rail:  "High speed and commuter rail offer a viable transportation choice to Floridians and visitors that will significantly relieve congestion on roadways. From an economic standpoint, investing in innovative transportation is exactly what our government should be doing. Rail also offers us the opportunity to put hard working Floridians back to work."  

Whoops! Scott has said he'd rather put money into Florida's ports, and in making his decision on rail, relied on a Chamber Foundation report that said port expansion would help create 143,000 jobs (Note: That's more than the 20,000 or so high speed rail was supposed to create.) The report also says the state's passenger rail plans could interfere with the state's freight rail network, which is necessary to get containers from ports to other states. (Another note: Freight is not part of high speed rail plans: only SunRail.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2:00pm]


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