Florida Fights for High-Speed Rail

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Florida's new governor, multimillionaire Rick Scott, is a political novice accustomed to the executive fiat of the corporate world. But Scott, an antigovernment Tea Party conservative, got an introduction to the Legislative and Judicial branches on March 1, when two state senators--a fellow Republican and a Democrat--sued to make him accept the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed-rail funds he rejected last month.

The Florida Supreme Court gave Scott until noon the next day to respond. Scott refused to budge, insisting that potential cost overruns could leave state taxpayers "on the hook" for the $2.7 billion bullet-train project, even though federal, local and private dollars are slated to pick up the tab.

Derailing the Tampa-to-Orlando train is just one fight among many that Scott has already picked with Florida's GOP-controlled legislature as he brings his government-reduction agenda to the statehouse--and tries to keep up with a combative new cast of conservative governors like Wisconsin's Scott Walker. But Florida Republicans and Democrats alike worry that Scott's high-handed style may instead augur a Tallahassee train wreck.