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A Rick Scott tweet on transportation hits a major speed bump

Gov. Rick Scott [The New York Times]
Tuesday 28 August 2018 10.00

A two-sentence tweet from Gov. Rick Scott fired up a lot of keyboards in recent days.

On his campaign's Twitter account, Scott last Friday lamented Florida's reputation as a donor state that sends more federal money to Washington than it gets back in return, a reflection in some cases of decades-old federal funding formulas.

Scott, who's challenging three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson,  was talking specifically about federal gas taxes that help pay for roads, bridges and other transportation-related projects.

"Florida hasn't received its fair share of federal transportation funding for decades," Scott tweeted. "That's wrong, and as your Senator I'll fight to secure real results for our state."

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Scott's assertion brought swift contradictions from others and immediate reminders of the governor's decision to reject billions of dollars in high-speed rail money in 2011. (Scott also opposed Medicaid expansion after originally supporting it, which would have sent billions to Florida for a three-year period).

From a former Republican state senator:

Oh pleeeze, you sent back $2.2 BILLION for first leg of High Speed Rail from Tampa to Orlando which would have been operational by now creating hundreds of good paying jobs as well as reducing traffic congestion on the I-4 corridor https://t.co/VqxzLBwdQB

— Paula Dockery (@Paula_Dockery) August 26, 2018

From a Politico staff writer and author:

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I remember when Obama tried to build Florida a high-speed rail line and you sent the money back to Washington. https://t.co/iYag1XS0sf

— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) August 25, 2018

From a transportation planner:

Wow. Florida Guv & Senate candidate doesn’t know his state gets heavy fed transportation subsidies beyond what it generates. Congress has subsidized the Highway Trust Fund with the US Treasury General Fund since 2008. $1 of every $3 @MyFDOT receives from @USDOTFHWA is subsidized. https://t.co/oUL9cyTUzR

— Don Kostelec (@KostelecPlan) August 26, 2018

From a Democratic state House member:

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Florida hasn't received its fair share of federal transportation funding for decades because lying hypocrite @FLGovScott rejected it. That's wrong, & as your state representative I'll fight to make sure @ScottforFlorida isn't elected to the Senate where he'll screw us over again. pic.twitter.com/sX24wFWIfc

— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) August 24, 2018

Scott's campaign doesn't see a connection between his tweet and the high-speed rail debate.

"High-speed rail was a multi-billion dollar boondoggle paid for with one-time money from the stimulus bill," Scott's campaign said. "This is unrelated to the decades-long inequity between what Florida sends to the federal government and what we receive back in infrastructure funding. Bill Nelson has failed for decades to fix this problem."

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