Florida's loss is the Northeast's gain today, as the Department of Transportation announced that a major chunk of the high speed rail money that Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) rejected a few months ago will be redirected to the Northeast corridor.
The route, which runs from Boston to Washington, DC, will get another $795 million in high-speed rail funding from the Federal Railroad Administration. This is part of the $2.4 billion that Scott declined back in February at the behest of his tea-party backers.
The line runs right through the Vice President's favorite Amtrak stop, the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington, Delaware. The state's congressional delegation is cheering the news. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Rep. John Carney (all Democrats) issued a group press release:
When Governor Scott declined to accept his state's share of these federal funds, we said we wanted to make Florida's loss Delaware's gain, and that’s exactly what we did," Senator Coons said. "The Department of Transportation made the right call in allocating the largest share of Florida’s unused high-speed rail funds to the Northeast Corridor.
The funds will be used to make trains speedier, raise performance and increase passenger capacity. Of course, this isn't just about making Amtrak better; it's a decision that also has political implications. While Scott's tea party fans were pleased by the rejection of high speed rail money, Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the move and tried (unsuccessfully) to sue to circumvent it.
Now not only does Florida not get the money, but residents will also have to hear from their friends and family up north about how great their train service is.