Critics said that Rick Scott didn't care about the facts when he cited a Reason Foundation study as the basis to kill high-speed rail in Florida last month, and that feeling will only be intensified now that a study released today shows the line between Tampa and Orlando would have had 3.3 million riders, generating almost $63 million in ticket sales during its first year of operation in 2015-16. That would have equated to a $10 million operating surplus.
The $1.3 million ridership study was done by the transportation consulting firms Steer Davies Gleave and Wilbur Smith Associates. It also said that by year 10, the train would have brought in $28.5 million more than it cost to operate and maintain the system.
Governor Rick Scott said upon rejecting $2.4 billion in federal money that he didn't want to put Florida taxpayers on the hook for any cost overruns, despite a plan formulated by the mayors of Tampa, Orlando and Lakeland that tried to assure the governor that would not be the case.