A little more than a year later, just one month after his inauguration, Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal money from President Barack Obama, effectively killing the high-speed line.
Scott said he was concerned Florida taxpayers would be on the hook for cost overruns and operating losses, and would have to pay back the federal money if the project failed. Federal officials and private vendors indicated all those issues could be addressed, but Scott never put the project out to bid, saying he would rather see the money go to ports, highways and freight rail to boost Florida's international trade opportunities.
Still in play: the SunRail project many state lawmakers agreed to only as part of the high-speed rail package.
Scott started examining SunRail shortly after his inauguration, when he froze project contracts totaling $238 million as part of an executive order requiring his sign-off on any state contract worth more than $1 million.
He has until Saturday to make a decision about whether to let SunRail go forward. That's when a 60-day congressional review of a $178.6 million federal grant agreement ends.
Last week, Scott told reporters that before he responds to the FTA, he wants to make sure Central Florida residents understand their financial obligation to SunRail, and that it may mean they won't get state money for road projects.
He also said he's determining exactly what he "can and cannot do" legally given "what's already been appropriated."
Weinstein, who co-hosted Scott's budget unveiling at a tea party rally in February, said he spoke last week to the governor about SunRail.
"We are so far down the tracks on this, that the governor may be in a box. He may not have the same legal protection that he had when he stopped the high-speed rail. He may have to sign this document even though he may not want to," Weinstein said.
The high-speed rail rejection sparked a lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court by two state senators. The court, facing a tight deadline for a ruling, rejected their petition, saying it didn't have enough information.
Some question, though, if Scott is getting the best legal advice on the SunRail issue. His top attorney, Charles Trippe, previously worked for CSX.
"The governor has former CSX employees working for him who might be CSX employees again in the future and it's difficult to determine where their loyalties lie," said Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, a longtime vocal opponent of SunRail. "Once again, the special interests take precedence over the interests of the taxpayers."
Scott spokesman Brian Hughes said Trippe has recused himself from discussions of SunRail.
The Florida Department of Transportation in 2009 estimated SunRail would cost $2.6 billion over 30 years to build and operate. The latest information from the DOT puts the costs at $1.28 billion. The savings came from eliminating bond funding and calculating costs over 20 years instead of 30, said DOT spokesman Dick Kane.
State taxpayers will pay at least $585 million to build the line, and local taxpayers will contribute at least $153 million. State and local governments will split construction cost overruns. The state will cover any operating losses in the first seven years, and locals will pick up operating losses after that.
State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a Republican who is courting the tea party in a run for the U.S. Senate, sent a letter to the governor Thursday raising questions about the terms of the grant agreement with the federal government. In particular, he questioned who would be financially responsible if one of the project partners can't meet its obligations.
But House Speaker Cannon said earlier this month that after several conversations with the governor, he is "cautiously optimistic" that Scott will approve the project.
That would be good news to Orlando-area business leaders and elected officials, who see SunRail as a job creator and a growth-management tool that will ease congestion by getting cars and freight trains off urban roads.
But it will be a demerit for Scott in the eyes of his tea party loyalists.