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Rick Scott’s latest round of scandals

A private passenger rail line and a natural gas pipeline create another ethics conundrum

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“Here’s my experience in business. If you enter into a project where it’s not a good transaction for the other side, it always comes back to be a problem for you. My concern with [high-speed rail] is, you look at the ridership studies, and I don’t think there’s any way anyone’s going to
get a return.”

– Gov. Rick Scott in 2011 upon rejecting federal funding for high-speed rail in February 2011

JUST THE STATS

 

$2.4 billion

Amount Gov. Rick Scott rejected in federal money for high-speed rail in 2011; the rail initiative was projected to bring 27,000 jobs to the state

 

$3 billion

Projected cost of the Sabal Trail Transmission natural gas pipeline connecting Alabama to a hub south of Orlando; Scott owned a $53,000 stake in Spectra Energy, which was chosen by Florida Power and Light to build the pipeline, as of December 2013

 

$1.5 billion

Amount All Aboard Florida – a private train enterprise connecting Miami to Orlando – is seeking in federal loans and state grants; $213 million in state money is earmarked for a terminal at Orlando International Airport

A scandal runs through it

Wouldn’t it be grand – as we splash around in our superhero-soaked annual celebration of superlatives, pointing our fingers and screaming “best!” at those things that tickle our fanciest of fancies – if we didn’t have to look down past our knees and shake our heads in the general direction of an administration built on the worst of behaviors? Like, what if we could scream from the top of solar panels to a field of wind turbines that, hallelujah, the Sunshine State is doing just fine, thank you very much.

But we can’t, and you’re not, because everything is terrible.

Regardless of logic or video evidence or any sense of character judgment, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Kevlar costuming and dilated pupils have thus far held him in inexplicable immunity from sensible recourse (cough, November, cough), even when his own devices seem to be malfunctioning. That $1.7 billion fraud fine for Medicare misdeeds was an opposite-day election boon! The failure to push for Medicaid expansion (even after dragging his personal story of familial loss in front of the camera) hasn’t elicited nearly the outrage that a pile of dead bodies should. All the policies, all the evasion, have only seemed to embolden the antagonist in this passionless political play. What’s it going to take to free our chrome-domed antihero from the shackles of Republican context and expose him for the uniquely unqualified public servant he really is?

How’s about a speeding train and a potentially explosive pipeline problem?

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