Florida's High Speed Rail on track for 2015 listen10/11/10 Sarah Curran
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This isn't your average choo-choo train.
â€œNot only is it a better way to get from point A to point B, it is safe, reliable, and comfortable, and you know you are going to arrive at your destination on time.â€
High-speed rail will connect Tampa to Orlando by 2015 and would run on speeds up to 200-mph. A bullet train would cut the drive time nearly in half and could even beat airplanes to their destination. Siemens Spokesperson, Becky Johnson says thatâ€™s not all the new rail would offer.
â€œWeâ€™ve found that transit oriented development happens around high speed rail station. So that includes everything from retail and restaurants, to city centers with business parks and housing developments, too. So huge opportunity for billions of dollars in revenue and also tens of thousands of jobs.â€
Multinational corporation Siemens hosted a demonstration over the weekend of what they hope will be the train of the future. Siemens is one of the many-interested cooperationâ€™s hoping to build Americaâ€™s first high-speed rail in Florida. If Siemens is chosen by Florida to build the rail, Skanska would be the company in charge of laying tracks for the new railways, joined by FCC Construction and Veolia Transportation. Skanskaâ€™s Spokesperson Marie Humphreys says Florida is ideal for high-speed rail due its flat landscape.
â€œThrough the construction of the train you decrease sound and impact to the environment, And you know surprisingly high-speed rail uses less gas and gets about 700-plus miles to the gallon. You know people tend to envision this high-speed rail it must use jet fuel it must be so inefficient, but its actually not. Its really conducive here in Floridaâ€
However not everyone who attended the event at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry was sold on Siemens' plans for high-speed rail. Don O'Neil and Ed Parker say the plan still needs some work.
â€œitâ€™s a great concept, weâ€™ve needed it for years, you cant keep widening I-4 to accommodate all the different people. The downside is itâ€™s going to dump everyone done in downtown Tampa were the old sheriffs department jail is and from there how are they gonna to the cruise terminals, how are they gonna get to the airport, it hasnâ€™t been thought through â€
â€œWell, I think it is something we should look into. As far as infrastructure for new rail its always a big problem for the state, for anywhere. But over all the country itself had a good things and they lost it. Commuter rails should be back in full swing the way it was in the hay day of rails.â€
However one thing most people can agree on, is that bringing innovation like this to Florida wont just benefit this generation.
Reporter: "Are you guys excited to see the train today?" Kids: "Yes ma'am!" Reporter: "And do you know how fast it goes?" Kids: "Very, very fast!â€
You can learn more about the bullet train on the website floridahighspeedrail.org .