(Adds quote, details)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Feb 16 Florida's Tea Party
movement-backed Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday said he was
rejecting federal funds to construct a high-speed railway
project in the state.
"Government cannot spend more than it takes in," the
Republican governor said.
Scott spoke at a news conference in the state capital,
where he strongly criticized the budget proposal for 2012
unveiled on Monday by President Barack Obama and said federal
grants earmarked for Florida to begin work on a high-speed rail
link between Tampa and Orlando would be rejected.
The newly-elected governor, a former healthcare executive
and uncompromising fiscal conservative, cited the likelihood of
cost overruns for the project as the main reason for rejecting
the federal funding.
The overruns could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for
billions of dollars, he said.
"If the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is
shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in
federal funds to D.C.," Scott said.
"The truth is that this project would be far too costly to
taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits,"
(Reporting by Michael Peltier; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick
and Vicki Allen)