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DOT says other states can have a shot at Florida's rail money

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JAXPORT
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Florida Governor Rick Scott (right) rejected federal high speed rail money - a move a congresswoman says means the state is "stuck on stupid."

New York and other states interested in pursuing high speed rail will get a shot at the money Florida rejected for superfast trains.  Brian Tumulty at Gannett reports that the Department of Transportation will allow 10 other potential high speed rail corridors to seek the cash:

House and Senate Democrats led by Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport also said Tuesday that they are forming a national caucus to promote high-speed rail and fend off opposition from Republican colleagues who want to cut funding. Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown said her state's rejection of the rail money means it is "stuck on stupid." Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down the $2.4 billion, which would have been used to create a high-speed rail link between Orlando and Tampa, over concerns about possible cost overruns the state would have to finance. Brown spoke at a news conference Tuesday on a chilly Amtrak platform with lawmakers from Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. Slaughter, who organized the group, said high-speed rail service would be the 21st century's equivalent of the Erie Canal, which allowed shippers to connect the East Coast to the Great Lakes and Midwest.

Rust Belt riposte

Rust Wire posted a letter written by a the owner of a patent law firm who says his problem doing business in the Rust Belt isn't high taxes or regulation, but rather  difficulty in recruiting talent to Michigan.  He says sprawl ("gone berserk on suburbia") and a lack of "quality of place" make it hard to lure lawyers away from California:

Having moved here from California five years ago, I will testify that Metro Detroit is a very hard place to live. Ask any former Detroiter in California, and you will hear a consistent recital of the flaws that make Metro Detroit so unattractive. Things are spread too far apart. You have to drive everywhere. There’s no mass transit. There are no viable cities. Lots of it is really ugly, especially the mile after mile of sterile and often dingy suburban strip shopping and utility wires that line our dilapidated roads (note above). There’s no nearby open space for most people (living in Birmingham, it’s 45 minutes in traffic to places like Proud Lake or Kensington). It’s impossible to get around by bike without taking your life in your hands. Most people lead sedentary lifestyles. There’s a grating “car culture” that is really off-putting to many people from outside of Michigan. I heard these same complaints when I left 25 years ago. In a quarter century, things have only gotten considerably worse. Ironically, California is supposed to be a sprawling place. In my experience they are pikers compared to us. Did you know that Metro Detroit is one half the density of Los Angeles County?

Air service

Senator Schumer is calling on Southwest to add service to Denver from Albany, to help boost West Coast connections to "Tech Valley," reports Eric Anderson at the Times Union:

Schumer said that more than 55,000 passengers from Albany fly to Denver annually, the 10th busiest destination from here. He also said that getting to San Jose, the main airport serving the tech companies in the Silicon Valley, can take as long as 11 hours and require up to two plane changes. Last week Albany International Airport officials said they were considering offering incentives to add nonstop service to the busiest cities out of Albany, among them Los Angeles. But Denver also was mentioned as a possible nonstop destination by airport CEO John O’Donnell.

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