Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My co-worker says I’m “feisty” when I’m pissed

I work with the public. I get paid to do a job. My employer does not pay me to voice my political opinions, and quite frankly, working in a union affiliated business it is probably in my best interest to keep my mouth shut. However…..

A union BA just shared his opinion with me regarding Gov. Scott’s rejection of $2.4 billion in federal high-speed-rail funds. Being mindful of why I am here I let his first comment go. I let the second comment go. I let the third comment go. He decided to make a fourth comment. No way, no how. I am not a captive audience and push me far enough and I am more than willing to call “bull shit”.

From my governor’s press release:

My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:

● First — capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

Second — ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million – $575 million over 10 years) — Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.

● Finally — if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.

● The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits.

● Historical data shows capital cost overruns are pervasive in 9 out of 10 high speed rail projects and that 2/3 of those projects inflated ridership projections by an average of 65 percent of actual patronage.

It is projected that 3.07 million people will use the train annually. Keep in mind that Amtrak’s Acela train in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore only had 3.2 million riders in 2010. And that market’s population is 8 times the size of the Tampa/Orlando market.

● President Obama’s high-speed rail program is not the answer to Florida’s economic recovery.

● We must make investments in areas where we will get a return for the shareholders – Florida’s taxpayers.

● Rather than investing in a high-risk rail project, we should be focusing on improving our ports, rail and highway infrastructure to be in a position to attract the increased shipping that will result when the panama canal is expanded when the free trade agreements with Colombia and panama are ratified and with the expansion of the economies of central and south America.

● By capturing a larger share of containerized imports entering our seaports, expanding export markets for Florida businesses and emerging as a global hub for trade and investment we can create up to an additional 143,000 jobs according to a recent chamber of commerce study.

● It is absolutely critical that we make smart investments with taxpayer dollars, whether state or federal, and I believe our state will be better served by spending these funds on projects that will benefit Florida and not turn into a spending boondoggle.

● The answer is to reduce government spending, cut government’s leash on our state’s job creators and then hold that government accountable for the investments it makes.

● That is what I was elected to do and that is how I plan to govern. Let’s get to work!

I would like to thank Gov. Scott for his wise and principled decision. Had he accepted the funds the taxpayers would have never gotten off the hook. Yes, we do need jobs in Florida. But it is private sector, not taxpayer subsidized, short term jobs that will turn our state around. The rail funds are nothing more than payola for Obama supporters (hellooo Jeffrey Immelt!).  Or better put by a commenter at The Corner:

Silly people. It's too hard to reward your cronies with all those disparate investments. With high-speed rail, all the money goes in one pot that the fed controls, and they get to steer their favored cronies to the public teat for their monetary rewards. It has nothing to do with building trains for people to actually ride on, and everything to do with creating a mechanism to funnel billions of tax-payers dollars (in reality, billions of dollars that our grandchildren will still be paying interest on)to their supporters in corrupt trade unions and crony contractors.

In any case, I would really appreciate it if between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. I could be on the receiving end of that “civility” thing that is all the rage. Assuming I still have my job tomorrow.

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