Approximately 13 months ago, Florida Governor Rick Scott killed the dreams of a lot of people along the I-4 corridor (as well as in the White House) when he rejected over $2 billion in federal funds to help build a high-speed rail line that would go from Tampa to Orlando.
Although most experts in the transportation field always said an Orlando-Miami line would ultimately be much more profitable, organizers chose to seek funding initially for Tampa/Orlando, ostensibly because the state already owned the right of way for the route.
But that plan died with Governor Scott's in-your-face rejection. But now, in a move that should delight those who were disappointed a year ago (including perhaps Tea Party activists, since there will be no public funds spent), a private company called Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) announced today that it plans to develop All Aboard Florida, a passenger-rail service that would run 240 miles to Miami, Cocoa and Orlando.
The company says it would use 200 miles of existing tracks between Miami and Cocoa, and build 40 miles of new track into Orlando. Intermediate stations would also be built in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. And in the press release issued by FECI, the system could eventually include connections to Tampa and Jacksonville.
Projected costs? $1 billion, less than half of what the Tampa-Orlando line was expected to cost.