Rejecting high-speed rail is not a good political move
Hey, it turns out people don't want to get divorced and die because of long car commutes! Actually, we're just guessing about that (makes sense, though, right?), but what's clear is that constituents won't thank you for nixing rail projects. Gas 2.0 checked in with the biggest rail refusenik governors, and they're all faltering in the polls.
- Florida's Rick Scott, whose rejected rail funds were parceled out to more forward-looking states, is "among the least-liked governors" in the country, with a dismal 29 percent approval rating.
- John Kasich of Ohio, who also turned down federal money for rail, has the approval of only 33 percent of his constituency.
- New Jersey's Chris Christie just keeps on backtracking. Before he pulled the state out of a climate initiative, he canceled a planned mass-transit project. New Jersey has thanked him by knocking him into a negative-balance approval rating for the first time.
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who put the kibosh on rail before he did all that other stuff people hate him for, has a 43 percent approval rating — 40 percent among key independent voters. And with a possible recall election in the works, this is one unpopular governor who really has to worry.
Now, none of this is necessarily directly caused by the governors' approach to rail. Possibly they are just generally bad people. But clearly, being anti-rail is not doing much to endear them to the public.
Get Grist in your inbox