02/18/2014 09:34 am ET Updated Feb 18, 2014

Rick Scott Pledges Millions For Orlando Airport Train Station

Now he likes trains.

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) announced plans to spend some $215 million in state funds to build a railroad hub at Orlando International Airport -- with $123 million available this year and the remaining $92 million available next if Scott is reelected in November, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The station would serve the privately-funded All Aboard Florida high-speed rail service from Miami to Orlando, which is expected to begin construction this year through South Florida's downtown corridors, as well as allow for future expansion of the Orlando area's SunRail commuter line.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has pledged an additional $467.5 million for the $680 million project, according to Florida Today. The state legislature still must approve Scott's budget recommendations.

"This is the right thing for the state," Scott said at a press conference Monday, according to the Sentinel.

The announcement comes just a few years after Scott famously rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds to build the nation's first high-speed rail line, between Tampa and Orlando, saying it would not pay for itself. A state study on which Scott had been briefed showed the system would have made a yearly surplus of $31 million to $45 million within a decade of operation.

Scott currently trails in polls to former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now running for reelection as a Democrat. According to the Tampa Bay Times, some recently polled voters in the area who are "ambivalent" about Scott's job performance cited his rejection of high-speed rail.

Monday, Scott also announced money for a long-planned yet long-unfunded elevated expressway that would help alleviate congestion on two major roadways in Clearwater.

"That's almost funny," Democratic Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long told the Times. "What was the change of heart due to, you suppose?"



Rick Scott Staff Turnover