Barney Bishop bends over backwards to kiss Rick Scott's ass in wake of high speed rail decision

Of course, that was all before Scott today pulled the plug on the dreams of countless people in Florida with his decision to smirk at President Obama and reject his billions of dollars.

So what does Barney Bishop say today?  Does he express his indignation? Or, knowing that there are other decisions over the next 4 years that he would like Governor Scott to look favorably upon, does he try to make it all better for the governor, facing intense criticism from much of the state?

Forget about what he said a month ago; Bishop says today he "understands" and "respects" the decision.

While Associated Industries of Florida has been a proponent of bringing High Speed Rail to Florida, and was hopeful we could do so with the backing of private-sector investment, we understand and respect Gov. Scott’s decision to reject the Tampa to Orlando project. Given these tough economic times and a past culture of deficit spending, we recognize that Floridians do not have an open checkbook and we as a state cannot afford to operate on credit. We look forward to working with Gov. Scott on growing Florida’s businesses and putting paychecks in the hands of our unemployed citizens.”

AIF - looking out for what's best for itself.  Now it makes sense why Bishop is considered so important and influential.

Associated Industries of Florida, like virtually every other business group in Florida, advocated strongly for Rick Scott to accept the federal funds already earmarked for a Tampa-Orlando high speed rail line.

If you don't think so, check out this press release its powerful president, Barney Bishop, sent out last month:

“Associated Industries of Florida has, for years, been a strong advocate of bringing high-speed rail to our state,” said Bishop. “That is why AIF is announcing the formation of a coalition we will spearhead to ensure this valuable project remains on track. We are in the process of assembling the coalition, which will include the private-sector companies that want the jobs, the work and the prestige that will come from being a part of Florida high-speed rail.

“The Orlando to Tampa project will not only bring 5,000 construction jobs to Florida at a time when we desperately need them, but will also make an international impression as the home of the first high-speed rail of its kind in this country,” added Bishop. “Given our continued budget shortfalls, concerns have been expressed over any expenditure of state dollars, including for rail. It is important to remember that while a match of $280 million is required in order to draw down the billions in federal dollars that are committed to this project, these dollars do not necessarily have to be state dollars and can come from the private sector. And although it is not expected, should the construction costs for this project run over or operating expenses exceed money brought in by riders, then the successful bidder will be responsible for these costs per contract requirements. Further, the federal government is offering up nearly $2.4 billion in funding that if left on the table by Florida, will be quickly grabbed by another state.

“AIF, our members and coalition partners want to see the bidding process for the project continue,” closed Bishop. “Let’s give the private sector a chance to show us the level of risk and investment it is willing commit in order to launch high-speed rail in Florida. Decisions to abandon the project can always be made further down the road if the conditions are not ideal. Right now, we have an opportunity to leverage private investment to secure billions in federal dollars for a project that will have an incredibly positive impact on our state.  Let’s not derail high-speed rail.”

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