Reactions to President Obama’s award of $1.25 billion in stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Florida high-speed rail project:
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL):
“This will be one of the largest boosts to the state’s economy since Disney, since the interstate highway system,”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa), who is scheduled to fly with Obama from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to MacDill Air Force Base on Air Force One this morning:
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami), who will also accompany President Obama to Tampa on Air Force One so far hasn’t issued a statement.
“This is perfect to develop further development tourism, which is the number one industry in Central Florida.”
Republican Marco Rubio, who blasted the use of stimulus money for rail, even though he said he supports the concept, is trying to have it both ways:
“I think we should all be concerned about increased spending on anything at a time when the federal government is borrowing money to function.”
“I think rail is good for Florida. I think the federal government spending money you don’t have is bad for America,” Rubio told reporters before the event at Film Lounge. “There’s two separate issues there. There are a lot of good ideas in the world. But you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t have. That’s our concern, the concern quite frankly is how much of this money is borrowed money, is it money that we’re printing or money we’re borrowing from the Chinese?”
Gov. Charlie Crist, who first said he would not be meeting with President Obama at the own hall because he would be “elsewhere,” then said he would meet him if the logistics worked out (Crist would also be in Tampa at The University of South Florida, a few miles away), waited until the last minute before announcing he would meet the President when he arrived on Air Force One. He gave this reason for the meeting:
“To express to him my disappointment that there hasn’t been more bipartisanship on his behalf, which is what he talked about a lot last year.”
Crist’s statement on the high-speed rail funds:
“It means tens of thousands of jobs at a time when we need it most,” Crist said. “It’s a great win for Florida. It’s why we held a special session (on SunRail) — to create jobs for Florida.”
Alex Sink, Florida CFO and Democratic candidate for Governor, who will appear with the President (from Sink’s press advisory):
Sink “has been a tireless advocate for the comprehensive development of high-speed and commuter rail in Florida,” including meeting last year with Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo to seek federal funding, and sponsoring the Florida Cabinet resolution urging the administration to fund Florida’s rail applications.
Florida Attorney General, and Republican candidate for Governor Bill McCollum will not be appearing or meeting with the President:
McCollum will not be on the scene tomorrow, despite his strong support for high-speed rail and backing last year for SunRail, he said today.
Why? Schedule conflict, he said—he didn’t know Obama was coming.
“I’m frankly going to be here for Enterprise Florida, so I’m not planning to be there in Tampa; I didn’t know the President was going to be there. And since I’m going on the board tomorrow—I’ve been invited to be a board member … I plan to be here. I think growing jobs is important, and I’ve planned on that for some weeks now.”