March 19, 2011- Rick Scott's decision to reject federal funds to construct Florida's high-speed rail project was no surprise to observers who knew Scott's game plan. When Scott appointed Robert Poole as his transportation advisor, it sounded the death knell for any type of non-highway-based mass-transit public transportation projects in Florida during Scott's administration.
Poole is director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, a right-wing lobby group of road-based transportation industrial interests, including petroleum, asphalt and rubber-tire manufacturers. And, not coincidentally, Reason receives substantial funding by the ultraconservative billionaire Koch brothers. David Koch serves as a Reason trustee.
Scott claimed he was rejecting federal funding for Florida's high-speed rail project based upon a Reason Foundation report of Jan. 6, 2011, authored by Wendell Cox, head of the Wendell Cox Consultancy. Cox claims to be a disinterested, independent transportation consultant, but has long been known as an opponent of rail transit projects and on the roster of the Reason Foundation and other highway promoters such as the American Highway Users Alliance, a pro-highway construction lobby group.