Kathy Castor on high speed rail in Florida

12/04/09 Arielle Stevenson
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The fate of high speed rail in the state of Florida hinges upon federal financial support of the project. Congresswoman Kathy Castor was in Tampa this afternoon and spoke with WMNF on the issue.

”I think our chances are good. We should be at the head of the line because we already have the right away. We can begin construction on high speed rail connecting Tampa to Orlando right of way sooner than any other state in the country. I’m very hopeful. I sincerely hope the efforts of the legislature do not complicate our situation.”

Competition for the federal stimulus dollars is high, with over 250 applicants in the running. But Castor says she is certain that Florida is at the top of the list for the estimated 2.5 billion dollars needed.

“Why would you hold Florida to a different standard than any other state in the country? We already are well positioned to compete for those high speed rail funds. Because no other state has all the right of way dedicated, is ready to complete construction, they’ve already talked to many contractors.”

Legislators are in Tallahassee today trying to work out a deal to bring commuter rail to the Orlando area. If passed, backers of commuter rail feel that the state would have a better shot at federal funding for high speed rail.

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