Gov. Rick Scott did not tell the truth when he told your editorial board that he refused federal money for high-speed rail because he asked for a guarantee that any contractor for the project would absorb any cost overruns but no contractor would come forward with that guarantee.
Scott did not give potential bidders on the high-speed rail project an opportunity to put forth a guarantee. And, there is no evidence that Scott ever asked for a guarantee. More than one of the eight teams expected to bid on the Tampa/Orlando leg sought but did not get an appointment with the governor to discuss the project. The governor, through his staff, put out the word that he would not be meeting with any of the consortiums that wanted to bid on the project.
Neither Gov. Scott nor his staff acknowledged requests for meetings with the governor. One team, which included companies from France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Florida contractors, was particularly aggressive in trying to get a meeting with the governor, hiring a lobbyist when their direct requests were ignored.
Additionally, Gov. Scott totally ignored the fact that his own Florida Rail Enterprise Director Kevin Thibault told a state Senate committee and others who would listen, "We're going to put requirements in a RFP (Request For Proposal) that make it clear that the state of Florida is not on the hook, that the taxpayers will not be on the hook" for cost overruns or operating expenses.
My wife, Sen. Paula Dockery [R-Lakeland], was absolutely correct when she told The Ledger that "He [Scott] would not allow RFPs to go to get that guarantee (to absorb any cost overruns) in writing nor would he meet with the eight consortiums to allow them the opportunity to make that commitment."
Scott did meet with representatives of the tea party who wanted him to kill the deal and forgo $2.4 billion in federal dollars and more than 23,000 jobs to build the first phase of the system.
He only listened to opponents.
C.C. (DOC) DOCKERY