Florida's Fast Train Connects to Slow Buses

The NYT examines problems with Florida's high speed rail line that received $1.25 billion in HSR stimulus funds. In addition to weak transit connections at both ends, the 84-mile route has five stops, increasing the total trip time.
March 25, 2010, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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While the train will indeed be high speed, as fast as 168 miles per hour, "neither (Orlando nor Tampa) is known for great public transportation." However, a major reason for its selection as the only other true high speed rail corridor (after California) to receive HSR-ARRA funding was that most of the right-of-way is owned by the state, and that it could be running by 2015, far earlier than California's.

"Proponents of high-speed rail worry that the new line, which is scheduled to be up and running in 2015, might hurt rather than help their cause, if it comes to be seen as little more than an expensive way to whisk tourists from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World, which is slated to get its own stop."

Certainly it wasn't helpful for the congressman representing the district, Representative John L. Mica, a Republican, to suggest the northeast corridor would be a better recipient of the funds.

"That would have the most dramatic impact, as far as a positive result for the country," said Mr. Mica, who added that he was grateful for the investment in his home state."

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Published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 in The New York Times - U.S.
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