The Obama administration has taken back the $2.4 billion allocated to Florida for high-speed trains and is inviting other states to apply for the money, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday.
The project, which would have connected Tampa and Orlando with high-speed trains, was rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. He said he didn’t want to obligate the state to pay for what could be expensive operating costs for the line.
However, the Florida Department of Transportation on Wednesday released a study showing the line connecting Tampa to Orlando would have had an operating surplus in 2015, its first year of operation.
It’s still possible for Florida supporters of the project to reapply for the funds without state help if they create a regional transit authority working in conjunction with Amtrak or another established transportation authority. However, they would have to work swiftly to meet the Transportation Department’s April 4 deadline for applications, a very tight window for such a complex undertaking.