Haridopolos Bails On High Speed Rail

By Tom Tillison
Orlando Political Press

In what is being hailed as a major tea party victory, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos has indicated that he will not support high speed rail if the state is on the hook for any of the cost.

The News Service of Florida reports that while speaking with reporters late Tuesday night during Scott’s inaugural ball, Haridopolos said that even if the state only has to pay $300 million instead of the full $2.6 billion, the price tag is still too high.

“My take on high speed rail is if we’ve got to (pay) $300 million, I’m not going to go for it,” Haridopolos told the News Service of Florida. “We can’t afford $300 million. It might be 90 percent off, but it’s still $300 million we don’t have….. I’m not going to borrow from the Chinese to build a railroad that a lot of people don’t want.”

Several tea party leaders, including Karen Jaroch, a noted organizer from the Tampa area and a strong opponent of rail, and Karin Hoffman, founder of DC Works For Us, met with Haridopolos on Monday to spell out the tea party position on rail.

Jaroch, organizer of the Tampa 9-12 Project, also co-founded the No Tax for Tracks campaign that successfully defeated a a 1 percent sales surtax for a light rail and enhanced bus and road proposal on the November ballot in Hillsborough County.

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