From NAKED POLITICS at The Miami Herald:
Two Florida senators just sued Gov. Rick Scott in the Florida Supreme Court to stop him from killing a Tampa-Orlando bullet train.
Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Republican Thad Altman of Melbourne said Scott had over-stepped his authority by rejecting the project, which received a green light after a December 2009 special legislative session about passenger rail. The lawsuit would force Scott to accept about $2.4 billion in federal transit money for the high-speed rail plan.
“Its all about jobs and getting Florida back to work,” Joyner said, echoing Scott’s campaign motto.
The suit wants the court to order Scott to “expeditiously accept” the federal money. It also suit seeks an injunction if necessary. Altman said they may need more time from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to ensure that Florida gets the money it was promised.
The lawsuit caps a mad two weeks of political posturing in which Scott unexpected[ly] declared he wouldn’t take the federal money because he worried the state would ultimately “be on the hook” for project cost over-runs and the cost of operating the train.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate who voted for the rail legislation, belatedly joined Scott in condemning the federal spending for the bullet train.
Cheered on by tea-party conservatives, Scott also said he worried the state would have to pay back $2.4 billion in rail money to the feds.
Lahood had a simple reply to that statement from Florida’s governor: “It’s baloney.”
From The Buzz at the St. Petersburg Times:
Two senators suing Gov. Rick Scott over his decision to kill a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando argue in court documents filed today that Scott’s response to the suit shows he does not plan to abide by the Florida Rail Act approved by the state Legislature in late 2009. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Scott argued in court documents filed today that the appropriation merely authorizes spending of the $131 million, but does not require it.
According to documents filed by Altman and Joyner, in making that argument, Scott “has admitted that he claims that he can exercise the powers expressly allocated to the Legislature regarding the budget.”
Altman and Joyner also argue that the Constitution requires Scott to execute laws passed by the Legislature, and “the Legislature expressly set forth in the Florida Rail Act the public policy of this state regarding high speed rail.”
In Scott’s legal response to the lawsuit, he has “admitted that he does not intend to comply” with the Florida Rail Act, which was approved by state lawmakers in a December 2009 special session called specifically to discuss rail.