LaHood disputes report Florida governor was willing to make a deal for rail money

Fortune reported earlier this month that Scott, who has been one of the most vocal critics of President Obama’s high-speed rail proposals, would have agreed to accept $2.4 billion for a rail line between Tampa and Orlando in exchange for money to dredge ports in Jacksonville and Miami.

" 'You want this project done,' " the magazine reported Scott said to transportation officials in the Obama administration.

" 'I can tell you what I'm interested in,' " he continued. " 'If you want to make it interesting to me, make it interesting to me.' "

Instead of consummating such a deal, Scott became the third newly elected Republican governor to reject rail money from Obama administration in February of last year.

The Obama administration included $8 billion in the 2009 economic stimulus package for the president’s vision of a nationwide network of high-speed railways.

But Scott has seized on reports about a similar rail proposal in California, which has reportedly had its projected cost triple, since the rejection to make the case that the railways would be too expensive to build.

"As I said at the time [of the Florida rejection], high-speed rail would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits," Scott said in a statement when reports surfaced that the California railway would cost $98 billion instead of $33 billion.