Wed March 9, 2011
The Two-Way

Florida DOT Study Undercuts Scott On Rail Project; Predicts Profits

When he rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail project, Florida Gov. Rick Scott explained that the train line would lose money, and put the state on the hook to pay millions for the system. But a new study undercuts Scott's claim.

In fact, the proposed Orlando-Tampa line could show a profit of $10 million in its first year, according to the study.

From Miami, NPR's Greg Allen filed this report for Newscast:

The study was commissioned by Florida's Department of Transportation. It estimates more than 3 million people would use the train in its first year. In its tenth year, the study says, the high-speed rail line would produce a $28 million profit.

That directly contradicts Gov. Scott's contention that the line would lose money. Asked about it at a news conference, he said the study didn't change his mind.

"I had been briefed on their ridership study, and I looked at other ridership studies, and I'm still very comfortable with the decision I made," Scott said.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson sent out a press release about the study, saying "Facts are stubborn things."

Nelson is waiting for word from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about whether a consortium of Florida cities may be able to apply and qualify for Florida's high-speed rail money.

Here's the full study, if you'd like to see for yourself. To read it more reasily, just click "fullscreen." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.