Rick Scott has no idea what he is talking about. Every time he talks about stimulus dollars he puts his foot in his mouth. The irony is Scott’s administration has revived the talk of “future corridors” which in many cases involves reckless spending with a real need. But in most cases stimulus projects were able to provided needed funds to projects that had been postponed or suspended.
Take the case of State Road 9B which will be designated Interstate 795 upon completion.
In 2007 the Florida DOT published these findings:
There has been a documented need for a limited access highway connecting northern St.
Johns County and southern Duval County since the mid 1970’s. This proposed expressway,
designated as SR 9B, will provide a vital link in the overall regional transportation system.
Besides providing improved interstate and regional access to the Jacksonville urban area,
this roadway will also relieve the heavily congested Philips Highway (US 1) and Interstate
95 corridors in St. Johns and Duval counties. State Road 9B is an important part of the
Florida Intrastate Highway System (FIHS).
The project was originally scheduled to begin construction in 2008 but was cancelled due to insufficient state funds. The project was revived two years later after stimulus money was allocated came in and Governor Crist unlike ideological Governors in some other southern states accepted the funds.
This excerpt is again from the Florida DOT website:
Phase One of State Road 9B between State Road 9A and US 1 in Duval County was funded using federal stimulus money remaining from other projects that were funded and came in under budget. The first segment of State Road 9B, from State Road 9A to US 1, was funded through this second round of stimulus money. Phase Two of State Road 9B between US 1 and I-95 has been funded for construction at a later date, however, the Florida Department of Transportation is working to form a partnership with the private sector to advance this project for construction in early 2013.
This critical road program which has been long needed on the south side Jacksonville would not have happened had John McCain been elected President in 2008 or the GOP controlled Congress in 2009. Continued infrastructure and public works projects that are critical for Florida’s transformation and catch up to previous growth will stop dead in its tracks with the attitude of Governor Scott and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Florida, even conservative areas of the state (like St John’s and southern Duval county) cannot afford that type of obstinacy based purely on politics and the effort to maintain ideological purity.
This is just one of countless examples of projects that moved Florida along with stimulus money. The next time one of Florida’s GOP officials begins to question stimulus spending give them this example.