Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Florida confirms slice of High Speed Rail Pie!

(website edit...While it appears that projects have been announced they have not.  They will be announced tomorrow (Thursday Jan 28).  Keep your fingers crossed for the MAGLEV team!

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High-Speed Rail Heads To Central Fla.

President Barack Obama To Announce Train On Thursday

POSTED: 11:47 am EST January 27, 2010
UPDATED: 5:40 pm EST January 27, 2010

White House officials and Sen. Bill Nelson confirmed on Wednesday that high-speed rail is heading to Central Florida.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce in Tampa Thursday that federal money will be provided to the state to build the train that will link Tampa, Walt Disney World and Orlando.

Nelson said Florida will receive a portion of $8 billion in stimulus funds that are being offered to develop a national high-speed rail network. State officials asked for $2.5 billion.

"This will be one of the largest boosts to the state's economy since Disney, since the Interstate highway system," Nelson said.

It's unclear whether the state will get all the money it requested to build the rail system.

Officials with the Department of Transportation said high-speed rail would provide an efficient, reliable and comfortable travel option between cities at speeds of 120 mph or greater. The trains will contain modern amenities and conveniences, and they're time and price competitive to other forms of transportation.

Of Florida's four applications submitted to the feds, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer predicts the Central Florida leg will come first.

The cost for Florida's proposed rail lines is around $2.6 billion. Sen. George LeMieux said he's hopeful the president will award full funding to the Sunshine State.

"I'm very excited about it. I've got my fingers crossed the president is going to award Florida the full $2.5 billion," LeMieux said.

The first leg could be in operation by 2015.