It’s not quite the bridge to nowhere but the Obama adminstration’s  awarding of $1.25 billion in stimulus funds to Florida to build a high speed rail link between Tampa and Orlando has more than a few people scratching their heads.

For residents between the two cities the drive only takes about 90 minutes currently.  With a high speed train going up to 168 miles per hour but with a projected five stops what on paper looks like a 30 minute rail trip will be more like 60 resulting in a minimal time savings.

Besides the cost of the rail link another potential problem with the idea is that the system is being built in two cities with a less than admirable record for mass transportation.   What it does look like is a plan to make it easier for passengers to get from the Orlando airport to Walt Disney World with the park being the beneficiary and the taxpayers picking up the tab.   Sounds a little like those fancy new sports stadiums that cities are tripping over themselves to build.

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) whose district won’t benefit from the rail line questions why the administration picked Florida over the Northeast corridor which is heavily congested and could use something like this far more than vacationers in the sunshine state.

I actually don’t object in general to high speed rail.  I would take the train to New York more often if the Acela which is the current standard for high speed rail was actually allowed to run at it’s top speed.  But because the Northeast corridor is so congested and the rails haven’t been upgraded to handle faster trains it moves along marginally faster than a regular train shaving  just 20-30 minutes off a DC-New York trip despite fewer stops and a premium fare.

After all we have been promised this for decades and we are still crawling along and yet with the stroke of a pen the administration decides to fund something where the need doesn’t really exist.

Why was Florida chosen?  Think votes.  There is an open Senate seat and the GOP is mired in a battle between a young conservative go getter and the more moderate governor whose once large lead has evaporated leaving an opening for the Democrats to grab a much needed seat.

This project wasn’t awarded to Florida based on any urgent need or merit, it was all about buying votes in November as well as 2012.

Chalk this up as another example of our taxpayer money now called stimulus funds being used where it will give the biggest political return rather than where it is actually needed and useful.

Thanks Mr. President for nothing.