Florida Republicans hate trains unless Dagny Taggart builds them

These work just fine!

Jeb Bush and now Gov. Voldemort – along with our friggin’ insance  legislature – share a scorn for the wishes of the electorate.

Around the time he got his brother elected President, Jeb discarded the results of a voter referendum in which over 60% of the voters demanded creation of a light rail project between Tampa and Orlando. Jep said  “pshaw”. Pshaw he said.

So lobbyists were chosen (financed by who the hell knows),and a multi multi million dollar advertising campaign was launched; they appealed to the segment of the electorate who have the memory of gopher turtles and could be counted on to rise up to stop a gobmint takeover of our nonexistent rails system. It worked and they got a repeal on the next ballot. It worked and bye bye rail.

Now cometh Voldemort with a legislature even more insane than the earlier one. When, as our share of the 2010 stimulus, the Feds offered a few hundred million to start building some in-State rail (and create thousands of jobs in the process), the Gov said – in one of his first acts as governor –  pshaw: give it to someone else, we don’t take charity here. So Congress gave it to Ohio. (Even John Kasich knew a good deal when he saw one.)

The leg ‘s new target is an amendment approved in 2010 by 63% of the voters to reform the completely corrupted re-districting process.

Of course money is pouring in again to turn this one around.

UPDATE: I wrote more about the redistricting effort here. (I actually forgot!)

8 responses to “Florida Republicans hate trains unless Dagny Taggart builds them

  1. That referendum was pretty slanted. A lot of people in Tampa, my old stomping grounds, have wanted commuter rail to / from Orlando for a long time as have some from Orlando, though the latter were mostly the amusement park lobby. Most of the people between the two endpoints were dead set against it.

    Given population densities, that would match up with a 60% in favor referendum but not really point out the regional level feelings.

    As for the Porkulus funds – the Governor was right to refuse them. Florida couldn’t maintain, on its own, the infrastructure it would have allowed to be built.


    • The things about votes jonolan (hey, nice to see you) is the majority rules 🙂

      This one was more aobut what’s right for the state – not just for that area. People here want to get a rail system going and Tampa/Orlando is a logical first route to build.

      And re the porkulus, I know the gov’t hasn’t the money now, but getting a RR running could take up to a decade – during which time thousands of people will have been put to work and would be paying taxes. Also . . . (I do go on) . . . costs to maintain a RR have to be balanced against costs of constantly widening and building new hightways – AND the peripheral costs of all that pollution.

      Ya gotta start somewhere.


      • Moe,

        Majority rules in a Democracy; we’re a Republic. That’s why Blacks and women have the full legal rights as citizens. Our system was setup by the Founders specifically to ameliorate the tyranny of the majority.

        As for State vs. Region – That’d be true if there was some logical basis for assuming that, once started, the project would continue across the state. I lived in FL for decades and have no evidence to support that such a thing would be true. Do you have differing evidence, or some thought that FL’s economy and tax base is somehow going to expand dramatically in the next decade?

        You are, however, quite right about the highway system. Where’d that come from though? The federal government. Why would rail work out any better for FL than the highways have?


        • Yeah, we’re a Republic and we are cautious about the tyranny of the majority. But I don’t see how that relatest to actual voting.

          I can tell you in my area, SW FL, there’s increasing interest, verging on demand, that we look seriously at public transit of all kinds. My brother lives in Miami and he says it’s a big issue there too.

          The interstates and the intercoastal waterways were all envisioned as defense projects – highways to move military around and waterways to protect shipping from submarines. They both turned out differently of course – the interstates changed the face of the country. And not necessarily for the better.

          Rail? It’s time for rail. We have more vehicles in this country than people and we’re drowning in traffic. Doing more of hte same would be silly – we should redirect that money.


          • You say,

            Yeah, we’re a Republic and we are cautious about the tyranny of the majority. But I don’t see how that relatest to actual voting.

            Got the nerve to tell that to the queers in CA in a post-Prop 8 world?
            Statewide referendums don’t always serve the needs of the people actually impacted by the proposed laws in question. That’s why, in most states, there’s a government charged with the responsibility of making the judgement calls.

            As for the demands for rail in south FL. I bet there is! Let them try to do it though and that will change when the tax hikes hits, eminent domain takes houses and buildings, and a number business find that they’re no being bypassed by traffic.

            As for rail itself, it’s old tech, not especially suitable for FL’s “bedrock” – quoted because we both know what it’s like – and unsupportable by FL economy.


  2. Jonolan , Ms. Holland ,

    Economics are always a factor . Once you subsidize something like passenger rail service, a built in constituency fights for it even though it may be utterly insane from an economic viewpoint . I’m sure rail service between Orlando and Tampa would be great , but unless it generates enough revenue to sustain itself , it shouldn’t be done . Liberals never care about that . Infrastructure is a magic bullet that will fix everything .

    And I love railroads . My grandfather drove a train . I just rode the Metro from Maryland into DC a few months back and loved it . But , again you have to weigh the total costs against revenue and the benefits . It’s funny , when railroads actually made money with passenger service, big government types did everything they could to bankrupt them . Railroads were taxed to death , their competition , autos , trucks , and airlines were subsidized . Once the Eastern Railroads became pathetic wards of the State , Liberals fell in love with them .

    Railroads are profitable now with freight . I have to wonder if hauling people will ever make sense for them .


    • Alan – I would take issue of course iwth your politicization of the history of rail in this country . . . .

      Passenger railroads cannot be profitable. That is true everywhere but it hasn’t stopped the rest of the world from moving ahead because it just makes sense. The east coast of the US should be linked by rail – high speed rail with connecting tributaries in regions. Just like the metroliner train from NYC to DC which is terrific. And the metro in the capitol, just like the subways in NYC and trains in Boston, make those cities work. Couldn’t imagine getting around without them.

      When I was a kid, there was great local bus service and we all used it. Gone now of course.


  3. Ms. Holland ,

    You are about 10 years older than me and saw more of the rails than I did . I got to ride subways in Phila. a little and once during the 1965 world’s fair in NY City . Again I don’t 100% disagree with your points , it’s just that there is a point where losing money can’t be justified . Gov. Christie had to draw the line on that tunnel project . Sometimes the side benefits are not there or not enough . A nearly bankrupt nation has to make tough choices . And villainizing politicians who make those tough decisions is not productive unless all you care about is political power .


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