The Wrong Side of the Tracks

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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.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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