When Governor Rick Scott turned down $2.4 billion in federal funds intended for a high-speed rail project last year, the prospects for improved passenger service for South Florida looked grim. Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) has stepped into the breach by announcing plans for All Aboard Florida, "a privately financed, $1 billion plan that will launch fast, hourly passenger rail service between downtown Miami and Orlando by 2014," writes Andres Viglucci.
Although high-speed service is not part of FECI's plan, with intermediate stops in downtown Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, the trains "will cover the 230 miles from Miami to Orlando in three hours and three minutes, significantly faster than it takes to drive," notes Viglucci.
Included in FECI's proposed project are plans to transform "the site of the original train station built by Henry Flagler that gave rise to the city of Miami." According to Viglucci, "FECI, the real estate arm of the conglomerate that also owns the Florida East Coast freight-rail company, will build a new, landmark station and a potentially massive mixed-use development on nine acres of fallow land it owns just north of the Miami-Dade County Courthouse."