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Charlie Crist: Put high-speed rail back on track

Democratic Florida governor hopeful Charlie Crist.
Democratic Florida governor hopeful Charlie Crist.
Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

Charlie Crist, who is the Democratic front runner in the Florida governor's race, says that if he is elected governor, he would bring the high-speed rail plan back to life three years after current governor Rick Scott killed it.

According to the Orlando Sentinel on April 5, Crist made the remarks about high-speed rail during a fundraiser hosted by his boss, attorney giant John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan law firm.

During the fundraiser, Crist was also calling for a change in the state's "Stand Your Ground" law to exclude those who instigate conflicts. Crist also defended the budget decisions he made while he was the Republican governor of the state, and showing his full support for the Affordable Care Act.

While making the pitch for high-speed rail, Crist said that their needs to be an alternate way to move people between Orlando and Tampa. Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa is the busy interstate in Florida, and sees frequent traffic jams seven days a week.

During his last year as governor, Crist championed the high-speed rail corridor, which would run between Tampa and Orlando with a stop in Lakeland halfway between the two cities. When Scott was ushered into Tallahassee in 2010, he killed the high-speed rail idea, calling it a boondoggle that would cost the state too much to operate.

Crist dismissed the notion, telling the attendees at the fundraiser:

"It's just a shame that didn't happen. If we maybe have someone who gets along with the president, talks to him again, we maybe can get that high-speed rail money back here to Central Florida."

Central Florida is in the middle of an expansion to the state's passenger rail network. Orlando will open the first leg of the SunRail commuter train line later this year, and All Aboard Florida will soon begin construction of a high-speed rail line from Orlando to Miami.

"For more updates on what's going on in Tallahassee and other political news and commentary from this author, click Subscribe or follow Kareem on Twitter, like him on Facebook, or email him your comments or questions."

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