What are the prospects for success of high-speed rail in Florida?

03/02/11 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Coming up we'll talk with a representative of America 2050, a non-profit group of planners, about their nationwide study of the prospects for success of high speed rail. Yesterday two members of the Florida legislature sued Gov. Rick Scott for rejecting federal funding for high speed rail. Our guest is Petra Todorovich, Director of the group America 2050. Her group did a study of the regions of the country where high speed rail is likely to be most successful. She joins us live.

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what speed

I wonder how high the "high speed" will be from Tampa to Orlando. Will it stop at Disney?

Sprawl Rail

The "high-speed" rail route will run in the median of I-4 from downtown Tampa to Disney World then in the median of the expressway to Orlando Airport, with stops in the northern exurb of Lakeland and International Drive in the sprawl south of Orlando. Does not go to downtown Orlando or have a station to transfer to SunRail. The fallacy in the whole plan is that it is based on the assumption that the high speed rail passengers will drive their personal automobiles to one of the stations, pay to park them and board the train to go to Disney World or Orlando Airport. This is not a viable model. In Europe, China, and Japan, vast public transportation networks of efficient buses and commuter and metro rail lines feed the passengers to the high speed rail which connects the dense centers of adjacent metropoles. No passenger cars are involved. Florida is not even close to having such a network at the present time. HART is taking the first step with a bus rapid transit line from I-75 along Fletcher and Nebraska to downtown Tampa. Much more investment in this type of unsexy public transportation is needed before the critical mass of a developed net is achieved which will provide the supply of passengers for an inter-city high speed rail operation. SunRail of Central Florida will use existing standard gauge RR tracks to run a metro/commuter rail service right down the middle of the conurbation between DeLand and Kissimmee, connecting the pedestrian oriented downtowns of Orlando and Winter Park with the outlying suburbs. By building on the infrastructure they already have they will be able to grow without the sprawl that is eating up our landscape and consuming vast amounts of energy. Running a tourist train on I-4 will not accomplish that. Watch the Simpson's Monorail episode. Look at the TECO Trolley. Remember the stupid toonerville elevated rubber wheeled train that went from Harbor Island to downtown Tampa and went right past the convention center without stopping? All these ill-planned boondoogles eat up capital that is desperately needed for real public transportation in the area. Then when the boondoggles fail to produce anywhere near what they had promised, the naysayers can use it to denounce the real public transportation that is needed to bring workers to jobs and clients to services. We cannot keep allowing this to happen.

Take THAT Obama!

The high speed rail isn't running anywhere! Gov Scott defeated this boondoggle (thank goodness!).

Who wouldn't want rail ??

Why drive to your Orlando destination in an hour for a few bucks ?? I'd rather drive to the train station, park and pay God knows what for a train ticket, wait, wait, wait for the train, railing it, but at high speed to Orlando, then the best part exiting the train and hailing a cab to arrive at my destination, cool !!!!!!

Good Point

The train just isn't practical. The only people who will really benefit are big business and their holier-than-thou corporate shills. How they framed this as a green, progressive movement and got the liberals behind it is a mystery to me. Now these mush heads are indignant that we won't pay for their folly. What lunacy!