Posts Tagged ‘Tampa’

Half the nation gets in line for Florida’s punted rail dollars

Sun Sentinel

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Wednesday that 24 states had submitted a total of 90 applications for a piece of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money that Florida punted when Gov. Rick Scott scuttled the Orlando-to-Tampa rail line.

The applications are coming from Red and Blue states across the country — not just concentrated in the Northeast — including southern neighbors like Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, to Maine, Midwest states like Missouri, and West coasters Oregon and California. The various rail projects jockeying for Florida’s money total just under $10 billion.

“Today, we are another step closer to delivering an innovative, national transportation network that brings new jobs and economic opportunity to the American people,” LaHood said in a statement. “Since I announced the availability of an additional $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects, governors and members of Congress have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate. That’s because they know that high-speed rail will deliver tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic development across their communities and create additional options for their citizens as the country’s population grows.”


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High-Speed Rail Can Be Profitable, Create Jobs


Yesterday, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held the latest in a series of field hearings aimed at getting input from selected voices on improving and reforming our nation’s transportation system.

Committee head Rep. John Mica held this hearing in his home state of Florida.  Now, Florida is a particularly good state to hear about the need for high-speed rail as a transportation choice since Governor Rick Scott rejected federal funds last month for such a project in the Sunshine State.

It is unfortunate that officials are choosing Big Oil over solutions that can end our oil dependence. And now we’ve got new research showing that a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando “could be operated with a healthy profit.”

The study shows that “the line connecting Tampa to Orlando would have had a $10.2 million operating surplus in 2015, its first year of operation. The study showed the line would have had a $28.6 million surplus in its 10th year.”


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Study: High-speed train would have made money

Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando-to-Tampa high-speed train scuttled by Gov. Rick Scott as a multibillion-dollar boondoggle would have made money from Day One, according to a ridership study released Wednesday by the state.

More than 3.3 million people would have used the 84-mile line, generating almost $63 million in ticket sales during its first year of operation in 2015-16, the report said, leading to a $10 million operating surplus.

By year 10, the report said, the train would have brought in $28.5 million more than it cost to operate and maintain the system, which would have linked Orlando International Airport with Lakeland and downtown Tampa.

The Obama administration last year awarded Florida $2.4 billion in federal stimulus to build the train, but Scott turned back the money several times, even after receiving two extensions to reconsider.

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Dollars from Florida’s high-speed rail project up for grabs

The Washington Post

The Obama administration on Friday sent a message to Republican governors who have turned down federal funding for high-speed rail systems, putting $2.4 billion that Florida rejected up for grabs to states that want to invest in the trains.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who won election in November, turned back funding from a high-speed rail line that would have linked Tampa to Orlando, saying he feared the state would be saddled with cost overruns.

Two other newly elected GOP governors – John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin – also rejected high-speed rail funding that had been lobbied for by the governors they replaced.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he would make the $2.4 billion available to other states through a competitive process that would reward those states most likely to move swiftly to put people to work building the rail service.


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Scott’s rejection of high-speed rail will be costly for Florida’s future

Florida Gov. Rick Scott last week unilaterally derailed the Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed rail line, saying the potential financial costs to the state were just too high.

But the price to Florida of doing nothing may prove no less stratospheric.

Amid a struggling state economy, doing nothing means lost jobs now and lost jobs in the future by pulling the plug not only on the 84-mile Tampa-to-Orlando line, but the entire statewide high-speed rail network that was expected to follow.

Doing nothing delivers a blow to Florida’s deepest desire to convey a can-do, 21st century image to the rest of the world. Doing nothing takes away Central Florida’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the first and (for a while) only true high-speed rail project in the United States. Doing nothing sacrifices $2.4 billion in federal funds once committed to high-speed rail here but soon likely destined for similar projects in more-welcoming states.

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A reprieve for high-speed rail in Florida?


A proposed high-speed rail line in Florida may not be dead after all.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding last week for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, but the project has not run off the tracks yet. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Scott Friday morning to discuss the plan in an attempt to keep it alive.

Touting jobs the project would create and the potential economic growth for the state of Florida, LaHood said in a written statement that Scott “asked me for additional information about the state’s role in this project, the responsibilities of the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as how the state would be protected from liability.”


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Orlando rally supports high-speed train

Orlando Sentinel

Nearly 75 people gathered at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando on Wednesday night to protest Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to kill the high-speed train linking the City Beautiful to downtown Tampa.

“What do we want? Rail,” they chanted. “When do we want it? Now.”

The gathering was organized largely through the social-media websites Twitter and Facebook by Brett Pribble, a 30-year-old English teacher.

He said he does not understand why Scott last week rejected $2.4 billion in federal-stimulus funds to build the 84-mile system that is estimated to cost $2.7 billion.

“It seems ideology rather than anything else is driving the decision,” Pribble said. “If someone offers you $2.4 billion, you take it.”


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Governor irks many with rail rejection

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday rejected $2.3 billion in federal money to build high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

Democrats and Republicans denounced his decision.

Scott said the spending was not merited. He criticized President BarackObama’s spending plans while also saying he didn’tbelieve the rail project would meet ridership estimates of just more than 3 million a year.

Supporters said Scott has thrown away an opportunity to create thousands of jobs in the state even before the project was bid. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Orlando, said he’s looking into the possibility of the federal government going ahead without the state as partner.

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VIDEO: Four Tampa Mayoral candidates call for Governor to reconsider high-speed rail

ABC Action News

The downtown Tampa parking lot near Interstate 275 is nothing but dirt and trees in the shadow of the city’s skyline where the old Morgan Street jail was torn down.

“It was the place where dreams went to die. What could have happened here was where dreams were grown, where dreams prospered,” said Tampa Mayoral candidate Bob Buckhorn.

The lot is where Florida’s high-speed rail would have created an estimated tens of thousands of jobs.

When four of five Tampa Mayoral candidates gathered at the corner of Morgan and Laurel Streets in downtown Tampa, all of them expressed disappointment over the Governor’s decision to turn down more than $2 billion in federal funding to connect Tampa and Orlando.


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Local, Polk Officials Blast Scott’s Rail Decision

The Ledger

LAKELAND | Gov. Rick Scott has spoken: No high-speed rail in Florida.

The $2.8 billion project was expected to run along an 84-mile route between Orlando International Airport and downtown Tampa, with a stop in Lakeland.

If the project had proceeded, it would have been the first high-speed rail line in the United States. As a result, the project was the focus of international attention.

Lakeland and Polk County officials blasted the decision by Scott.


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