TAMPA – Vice President Joe Biden chastised Gov. Rick Scott in Tampa Wednesday saying he cost Florida thousands of jobs and cutting edge infrastructure improvements by rejecting $2.4-billion in federal funding for high speed rail.
“Your governor, God bless him - I don't know him - but I don't get it," Biden said at a private fundraising reception for Sen. Bill Nelson. "You had the chance. You were the best situated of all the states in the country to put a truly high speed line from Tampa through Orlando that would have made money,’’ Biden told more than 150 people who booed the mention of Scott’s name. “Even if you were doubtful I don't understand how in this economy in Florida you could walk away from 24,000 high paying jobs."
Scott rejected the stimulus funding for high speed rail in February, saying he worried it wouldn’t be cost effective and
taxpayers would ultimately be on the hook for cost overruns and subsidies.
His office has not responded to a request for comment.
Gov Scott's name drew boos when Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, noted his rejection of rail funds, and Nelson said he remained optimistic: "Let me tell you, high speed rail is still coming to
Nelson and Obama-Biden will be on
's ballot together in 2012 the vice president suggested their political futures are entwined. "Because of all of you in this room
Bill Nelson won and quite frankly because of you in this room Barack and I
won. Neither Bill nor Barack nor I can win again without you," Biden said.
"Every election time opponents (of Nelson) trot out the same tired slogan:
'He's a liberal,' Biden said w Nelson at his side. "You know why it never
works? Because this guy, more than almost anybody I've ever worked with is
about common sense and common ground. "
Among the dignitaries at the event were former gubernatorial candidates Bill McBride and
Jim Davis, Castor, newly elected Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
The vice president also implied that his administration's "Winning the future" slogan may not be so hot.
"Bill and the president and I, we're focused on literally - it sounds likea trite phrase - but literally winning the future."
Biden also made an unscheduled stop at Steinbrenner Field to check out the Yankees in spring training.