Hillsborough commissioner challenges Scott to rethink high-speed rail
Dear Governor Scott,
To say I am disappointed in your decision to reject federal funding for the Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail connection is an understatement. I understand you have a very difficult job to do and recognize your commitment to balancing our state budget. That said, while I am not asking you to reconsider your decision, I am requesting that you demonstrate through strength of reason and logic the merits of your conclusions.
Governor, your decision could actually serve as a catalyst to enhance this project by forcing the hand of local governments and the business community to craft a package that will far exceed expectations and make Florida the nation’s leader in a modern transportation system.
Would you agree to host a one day business summit and allow both sides to make their strongest cases, and in the spirit of the Wharton School of Business, force a discussion to vet this project based solely on its merits and not ideology? The magnitude of this project requires a business decision that demands a rigorous business review. You could set the precedent for all future projects and put our state on the path to economic recovery.
Business, community and political leaders along the critical I-4 corridor have been working together to tackle the issue of deficient and failed roads in our region. We have tens of billions of dollars in failed roads and will never be able to widen enough roads to solve this problem. This collaborative effort has begun to lay the foundation for achieving 700,000 jobs in seven years as you have challenged.
Governor, I am well aware of your concerns and appreciate the business acumen you have brought to this issue. Politicians throughout history have signed on to bad deals which have left taxpayers on the hook. Yet fear of failure or concern for risks should not impede us from making the hard call to forge ahead, nor doubt the management principles that your leadership team can bring toward making this a project a historic success for Florida. America was built by brave pioneers, and that spirit will continue to guide Florida into the next millennium.
Mark Sharpe (R) is one of Hillsborough County’s at-large county commissioners. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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