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Florida High Speed Rail Officially Announced

Today, the Obama administration will award Florida $1.25 billion in stimulus funds to construct the nation's second high-speed rail system. The 90 mile, double tracked line will run in the median of I-4, connecting Tampa and Orlando.

Published January 28, 2010 in Transit      132 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

About the High Speed Rail project



Quote
Some industry experts expect the biggest recipients to be states that have already invested heavily in rail and whose projects are closest to the construction phase.

Those factors could point to Florida as a likely recipient. The state is seeking about $2.6 billion in stimulus funds to build a rail line connecting Tampa and Orlando, a project that business leaders view as a key to luring new companies and jump-starting the Sunshine State's economy. Peak speeds could exceed 150 mph.

Florida has purchased land rights for the project and recently cleared a federal environmental review, clearing major hurdles that many other states haven't, said Nazih Haddad, who manages the state's passenger-rail development programs. The state has agreed to chip in $570 million for the project, on top of other expenses already incurred. Project costs could total $3.5 billion.

With the stimulus funds, construction could begin in mid-2011 and be completed in 2015, creating an estimated 23,000 jobs, Mr. Haddad said.

The state's application to the Federal Railroad Administration includes a request for funds to study a high-speed rail line connecting Orlando and Miami.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703808904575025460095083750.html


I-4 Corridor - Center Poles Typical Section


High Speed Rail - Phase 1 Route - Tampa

Downtown Tampa will be the western terminus for Florida's first high speed rail system.  This station will be the first phases only site located in an urban walkable setting.
















I-4 Corridor - Side Poles Typical Section



High Speed Rail - Phase 1 - Lakeland

The exact location of the Lakeland station is still in debate.  Plant City, Lakeland's immediate neighbor to the west, is lobbying to have the Lakeland station located at the interchange of I-4 and the Polk County Parkway (SR 570).








The other proposed Lakeland site is located as close to Downtown Lakeland as I-4 gets, which is about two to three miles to the north at Kathleen Road.  Recently, a third Lakeland site (not indicated on aerial concept plans) has emerged a few miles east of the city were a new college campus is planned.










Typical Bridge Section



High Speed Rail - Phase 1 - Orlando

The Orlando area will have as many as three stops.  Disney, International Drive and Orlando International Airport.  The rail system's O&M yard will also be constructed in Orlando.


































Quote
As proposed, the train would start at Orlando International Airport and run along the BeachLine Expressway and Interstate 4 until stopping in east Tampa, a little past Ybor City. It would have stops at the Orange County Convention Center, Walt Disney World (near Celebration) and Lakeland.

No train type has been chosen, though the state prefers a train powered by electricity, most likely from overhead lines, records indicate.

It could reach a top speed of 160 mph, the state estimates, because the route is essentially flat and straight once it moves along I-4. A non-stop run from OIA to Tampa would take about 44 minutes, as opposed to as much as an hour and a half by car.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-high-speed-announcement-20100127,0,4321977.story


While the ultimate success of this system is still up for debate among transit advocates, Metro Jacksonville hopes that the political push for rail-based mass transit will eventually reach Jacksonville, sooner rather than later.

For more information: http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org

Article by Ennis Davis







132 Comments

copperfiend

January 28, 2010, 07:55:45 AM
The Tourist Train

Doctor_K

January 28, 2010, 07:57:49 AM
THat goes nowhere and connects nothing.  Hey!  It's the Central Florida Skyway! :)

jbovinette

January 28, 2010, 08:08:45 AM
Yea pretty much. Also did you see "No train type has been chosen, though the state prefers a train powered by electricity, most likely from overhead lines, records indicate."

OVERHEAD LINES???? How tacky!

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 08:15:32 AM
THat goes nowhere and connects nothing.  Hey!  It's the Central Florida Skyway! :)

because downtown Tampa is nowhere/nothing?

btw, another article

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jan/28/florida-awaits-obamas-high-speed-rail-announcement/news-politics/

Dog Walker

January 28, 2010, 08:27:52 AM
Overhead electric lines are used by almost all high speed trains everywhere in the world.  Electric power has proven to be the cleanest and most efficient method for powering passenger rail at almost every level of service from TGV to street cars.

Ock could probably give us the technical reasons why and has some excellent pictures of how unobtrusive the overhead lines are.

billy

January 28, 2010, 08:35:58 AM
Georgia is set to receive a whopping $750,000.
(according to the AJC)

JeffreyS

January 28, 2010, 08:38:45 AM
So is the Miami to Jax Amtrak upgrade not going to happen?

JeffreyS

January 28, 2010, 08:39:47 AM
I do hope that HSR suceeds.

aaapolito

January 28, 2010, 08:42:23 AM
Since there is no exiting track along the I-4 median, was it a possibility to implement magnetic levitation ("maglev") technology?  I know that companies in Japan have implemented this technology.

I suppose that one of the major problems with the maglev system is that there is no possibility of inter-working the system with current rail infrastructure.  As a result, there would be a greater chance for "central florida skyway."

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 08:50:56 AM
Here are a few allocations:

California: $2.25 billion for HSR, $99 million for smaller conventional rail projects

Chicago-St. Louis corridor: $1.1 billion

Chicago-Detroit corridor: $244 million

Milwaukee-Madison corridor: $810 million

Cleveland-Cincinnati corridor: $400 million

Tampa-Orlando corridor: $1.25 billion

Raleigh-Charlotte corridor: $520 million

Washington State: $590 million

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/nation/story/D1A66CA7501E947E862576B9000CFB3F?OpenDocument

copperfiend

January 28, 2010, 08:51:07 AM
I do hope that HSR suceeds.

I do as well but as a Jacksonville resident, it is a little disappointing.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 08:58:34 AM
If Jax wants to be a player at these games, it has to show up.  The places awarded have been lobbying for these improvements for years.  Jax was no where to be found.  This is why its so important to push now.  If we never make a push, we'll never get to the point of being awarded anything significant.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 09:03:01 AM
So is the Miami to Jax Amtrak upgrade not going to happen?

I would not say that right now. No state received more than half of their original request.  Also, don't forget there is funding available every year for HSR, plus additional funding from other transportation sources.

copperfiend

January 28, 2010, 09:29:07 AM
If Jax wants to be a player at these games, it has to show up.  The places awarded have been lobbying for these improvements for years.  Jax was no where to be found.  This is why its so important to push now.  If we never make a push, we'll never get to the point of being awarded anything significant.

Completely agree.

buckethead

January 28, 2010, 09:32:09 AM
I hope the doubters here are proven wrong (myself included). A failure here would mean 40 years of continued wandering in the mass transit desert.

fsujax

January 28, 2010, 09:33:09 AM
Yeah. our elected delegation that represents our area in Tallahassee, should be making a loud noise about Jacksonville, but so far it's silence.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 09:50:43 AM
So is the Miami to Jax Amtrak upgrade not going to happen?

I would not say that right now. No state received more than half of their original request.  Also, don't forget there is funding available every year for HSR, plus additional funding from other transportation sources.

agreed Lake...while Amtrak on FEC is not being funded through the $8 billion program, there are many other transportation revenue sources available....and if HSR is paid for entirely by the Feds, then the state would have more of its own money to put toward the Amtrak deal.

I have 2 concerns about the HSR funding:

1. How much money will come fromm the Feds over the next 3 years....assuming FL gets a total of $2 billion, can they build the whole thing?

2. In the past FDOT has not been able to start construction until all money has been secured...how will they get around this?

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 09:53:10 AM
This is the maddening thing.

When the HSR conference happened in Orlando, the only representatives for Jacksonville were me and Ocklawaha representing metrojacksonville.  We managed to make the conference hear a point of view from North Florida, and we even managed to help influence national policy as a result, but there wasnt any way to bring Jax to the table.

Instead, every cotton picking person from our city was involved in the ridiculous lego exercise, and apparently the entire JTA staff was assigned to escort one of the "Reality Check" speakers around town.

Well here's the reality check:

Tampa Orlando got 1.25 Billion Dollars in federal funding.

Jacksonville got nothing.

And this is even with our team going to multiple meetings with the JTA, offering services, exhorting them to get something prepared, apply for stimulus money, etc etc.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 09:57:14 AM
to be fair Stephen the Tampa-Orlando line has been in planning stages for over 25 years....and the Federal environmental documents (studies paid for by FDOT) for the route were approved in 2004.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 09:59:08 AM
The money provided by the Obama Biden Administration however, was not a 25 year process.

If Jacksonville were engaged in that level of conversation, then it would have had a similar chance.  But it wasnt, isnt and so it doesnt.

Lunican

January 28, 2010, 10:00:50 AM
What has JTA and Jacksonville been planning for over the past 25 years?

This is a serious question. In 1985, what was being discussed and planned for?

Shwaz

January 28, 2010, 10:05:39 AM
I'm a little unsure that Orlando to Tampa was the best place to start with HSR in Florida... but I guess any start is a good start.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:05:57 AM
What has JTA and Jacksonville been planning for over the past 25 years?

This is a serious question. In 1985, what was being discussed and planned for?

That is a fair question....but to assume that one could walk in now (if they were paying attention) and get money is disingenuous...the same is true with the new stimulus funding for streetcars....you need to already have plans and environmental permits in hand.

What Jax. needs to do NOW is take the next step and get some environmental studies going for both commuter rail and streetcars.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:08:40 AM
To assume that any one is suggesting taking a stroll, asking for money for undetermined projects is also disingenuous.

But to think that simply not showing up at all, not planning, not engaging in any way is somehow excusable is only empowering and enabling more of the same.

But hey, at least they got to play with those ridiculous legos.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 10:18:32 AM
I'm a little unsure that Orlando to Tampa was the best place to start with HSR in Florida... but I guess any start is a good start.

While I do believe this region could be better served by commuter rail or amtrak, connecting these two by rail does make a ton of sense.  Its pretty populated, I-4 is a congestion nightmare and the cities are pretty close together.  So a short starter segment between two viable endpoints makes sense (this is what we should be doing with our local rail plans).  Going from Orlando to Miami will cost billions more and take years to complete and Jax was no where to be found in these serious discussions the past decade or two.  At least the short Tampa/Orlando segment allows the state to get their feet wet. 

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:18:53 AM
Legos are fun!

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 10:20:40 AM
Yeah, its been a pretty good two months for thelakelander's Lakeland.  They get HSR, CSX's new rail hub as a part of the Sunrail deal and the real Legoland. 

cline

January 28, 2010, 10:22:30 AM
Quote
The money provided by the Obama Biden Administration however, was not a 25 year process.

If Jacksonville were engaged in that level of conversation, then it would have had a similar chance.  But it wasnt, isnt and so it doesnt.

Jacksonville's chance really wouldn't have been similar.  That route has been in the planning stages for a while therefore it was the obvious choice.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:23:21 AM
Really Cline?

Having been there in person, thats not what Ocklawaha and I saw in action.

What was it about the conference that made you think otherwise?

cline

January 28, 2010, 10:27:35 AM
So bascially, the reason that Jacksonville doesn't have HSR is because no public officials attended a single conference in Orlando?  Right.

Since you state you are able to "influence national policy" I'm a little surprised that you weren't able to bring some of the funds home to Jax.  What happened?

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:35:52 AM
We came back to Jacksonville.  JTA got pissed that we went.

We held multiple meetings with JTA, discussed strategy, volunteered time and services, had a lot of talk and then.

Nothing.

The only response from JTA at a time when the rest of the country was mobilizing for both stimulus and amtrak funding was the work of James Boyle and Scott Clem in initiating commuter rail studies.

But you still didnt tell me what you observed at the rail conference, Cline?

My ex was going through the same rush in Muncie Indiana.  She and the rest of the Downtown Community had the same time frames as Jax.

They managed to get funding for transit, so Im afraid I cant take any of this popcorn very seriously.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 10:37:07 AM
Jax has no HSR funding because it was never a real part of the planning process.  Those guys in Central and South Florida have been planning this stuff for years and that's why its considered "shovel ready."

If anyone is interested, here is a link to some of those documents.  

http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/PD_E_Documents.html

Until Jax can officially commit to something and produce the necessary documents needed to secure federal funding, federal funding for any type of local or intercity rail, involving Jax, will not be on the radar.  

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:37:58 AM
Jax has no HSR funding because it was never a real part of the planning process.  Those guys in Central and South Florida have been planning this stuff for years and that's why its considered "shovel ready."

If anyone is interested, here is a link to some of those documents.  

http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/PD_E_Documents.html

Until Jax can officially commit to something and produce the necessary documents needed to secure federal funding, federal funding for any type of local or intercity rail, involving Jax, will not be on the radar.  
bingo

cline

January 28, 2010, 10:39:44 AM
Quote
Jax has no HSR funding because it was never a real part of the planning process.  Those guys in Central and South Florida have been planning this stuff for years and that's why its considered "shovel ready."

That was the point I was trying to make.  We didn't get funds because we haven't been planning an HSR route like others have.  It wasn't because we didn't show up at one meeting.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:41:39 AM
again I will point out that the funding for al of the previous studies was provided by FDOT at a statewide level....and to be honest, northeast Florida never had the population (i.e., legislators) to compete with central and south Florida.

Jax. is now in a very good position with the Secretary of FDOT and the District Secretary being from here.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:42:49 AM
Not showing up at the meeting that was pretty much required to know how to apply for the money was a deal killer for Jacksonville Cline.

The meeting specifically laid out the process which were not available to the public that the agencies needed inorder to complete applications.

So yes.  The one meeting was pretty important.

This was a common vein in our conversations with JTA after the meeting itself.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:43:27 AM
again I will point out that the funding for al of the previous studies was provided by FDOT at a statewide level....and to be honest, northeast Florida never had the population (i.e., legislators) to compete with central and south Florida.

Jax. is now in a very good position with the Secretary of FDOT and the District Secretary being from here.

This is complete bollocks in terms of the federal funding.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 10:43:56 AM
Quote
Jax has no HSR funding because it was never a real part of the planning process.  Those guys in Central and South Florida have been planning this stuff for years and that's why its considered "shovel ready."

That was the point I was trying to make.  We didn't get funds because we haven't been planning an HSR route like others have.  It wasn't because we didn't show up at one meeting.

Cline, you are correct.  Not showing up at meetings over an entire decade has Jax where it is today.  Not showing up a one meeting wasn't going to change anything in regards to the $8 billion for HSR.  

Unless we plan to pay for our future with only local dollars that don't exist, its time we start showing up at all of them.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:45:32 AM
so what happened to Texas.....they had a great HSR plan and only got $4 million?

cline

January 28, 2010, 10:47:49 AM
Quote
Not showing up at meetings over an entire decade has Jax where it is today.

Agreed.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:48:34 AM
I think you would have to ask the Texans, TUFSU.

My guess is that they hired our locals to do the application for them.

BridgeTroll

January 28, 2010, 10:50:42 AM
Quote
so what happened to Texas.....they had a great HSR plan and only got $4 million?

The Bush family calls it home?

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:51:44 AM
Not showing up at the meeting that was pretty much required to know how to apply for the money was a deal killer for Jacksonville Cline.

the applications were submitted by FDOT...and the decision that HSR is Tampa-Orlando-Miami was made in 1998, not at the Orlando meeting.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 10:54:46 AM
TUFSU, this is also complete bollocks in the context of the meeting which discussed a new funding program announced a couple of months earlier.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 11:09:50 AM
TUFSU, this is also complete bollocks in the context of the meeting which discussed a new funding program announced a couple of months earlier.

Which funding program is that....the one for construction of shovel-ready projects....or the miniscule $6 million for planning studies?

Remember that the Amtrak on FEC was also part of Florida's application...so Jax. was included....unfortunately it doesn't look like that one will be funded yet...even with the support of Brown, Mica, and Nelson!

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 11:12:24 AM
The 8 billion set aside by the Congress for transportation is a separate issue from the Stimulus package as you well know.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 11:19:11 AM
From Mica's Office.

Mica, Shuster Response to High-Speed Rail Announcement

Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), the Republican Leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member, offered both a positive response and a sharp criticism of the Administration’s announcement relating to building high-speed rail systems in the United States.

“I am pleased that President Obama has helped to launch a system for improved passenger rail service for our nation,” Mica said.

“As the author of high-speed rail legislation included in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2008, I welcome new rail infrastructure projects that can relieve our congested highways and airspace, limit pollution, and more efficiently use our energy resources.”

However, Mica cautioned that there is only a limited chance that taxpayers will see any semblance of true high-speed rail operating with the projects chosen.

“Even the first leg of the Orlando-Tampa route will be a slow-speed, short-stop line
,” Mica said.  â€œThe Midwest routes chosen will only achieve a top speed of 110 miles per hour and were selected more for political reasons than for high-speed service.”

He noted that high-speed rail systems around the world now operate at an average of 150 mph or more.

“I am disappointed in the failure of the Obama Administration to follow the guidelines of the 2008 law, which highlighted private sector investment and participation,” Mica continued.  â€œThe projects chosen by the Administration were not transparently selected and lack adequate private sector financial commitment.

“Just spending huge amounts of federal taxpayer funds will not insure success of these megaprojects.  The last thing the American people need is another bailout program with low-speed trains to nowhere,” said Mica.

“As a coauthor of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, I agree with Ranking Member Mica that the Obama Administration missed a golden opportunity to involve the private sector in the development of a high speed rail system,” said Rep. Shuster.  â€œI included a provision for private sector competition in the 2008 law, which Amtrak has completely ignored.”

“Each ticket sold by Amtrak is subsidized almost $55 by the American taxpayer.  Unfortunately we will not have the opportunity to reduce taxpayer exposure to the costs of development for these lines,” Shuster said.

“I am also concerned that scarce federal dollars will be spread too thin among too many rail projects, leading to incremental progress that could slow our already delayed entrance into high-speed rail.  This is another reason the government must encourage private investment,” Shuster added.

Mica continued, “Finally, most disappointing is the unfortunate hijacking of the Northeast Corridor, which for the most part was kept out of the selection process and will remain the slow-speed stepchild of passenger rail transportation.  Keeping the Northeast Corridor as a private train set for a few select politicians will insure continued congestion in our nation’s most densely populated region.

“With 75 percent of our country’s aviation chronic delays beginning in the New York airspace, it is a shame that the people in that crowded corridor have been shortchanged in this high-speed rail system selection process.

“The Acela runs at an average speed of 83 mph between Washington, DC and New York City, and Amtrak has limited plans for improvement that will take 20 years to reach even moderate speeds in our most important transportation corridor.

“It’s regrettable that continuing the Soviet-style Amtrak operation has trumped true high-speed service for a corridor so vital to our national transportation interests,” Mica concluded.

The federal government is providing $8 billion in stimulus funds for the project awards announced.  In addition, $2.5 billion was appropriated in 2010 for high-speed rail projects.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 11:24:01 AM
The 8 billion set aside by the Congress for transportation is a separate issue from the Stimulus package as you well know.

actually I didn't know that...I'm pretty sure it is part of ARRA, otherwise known as the stimulus.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2818383020100128?type=marketsNews

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 11:37:59 AM

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/article1068768.ece

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2010, 12:05:31 PM
THat goes nowhere and connects nothing.  Hey!  It's the Central Florida Skyway! :)

because downtown Tampa is nowhere/nothing?

btw, another article

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jan/28/florida-awaits-obamas-high-speed-rail-announcement/news-politics/


I think DoctorK pretty well summed it up. The station in the middle of NOTHING is no closer to downtown then the classic Tampa Union Station, and has ZERO supporting infrastructure. A good solution for Tampax is to slide those tracks over and get into Tampa Union Station, right alongside Amtrak, Greyhound, Light Rail and HART bus.

Abandoning the Orlando Airport for a connection with the CSX would open up the entire metro to High Speed Rail. I'd be MUCH more likely to ride a HSR train from Lake Mary to International Parkway at 30 mph, then I would spending 50 minutes fighting that damn traffic to a damned inconvenient airport, paying for parking, paying for ticket, and then riding another 50 minutes to my favorite freeway interchange in Tampax. Considering a 20 minute delay at Orlando International Airport between parking and boarding a train, my net trip becomes 120 minutes! 120 minutes or TWO HOURS for a trip that would take 1 hour and 28 minutes if I stayed in my car!!

I sure as hell wouldn't build a high speed "hub" with right angle 90 and 100 degree turns in the distant edge of Orlando. Anytime you include right angles in your track plan, someone will quickly figure out that they can cut across the corners and save time. Right angles as-in St. Petersburg - Miami VIA Tampa!  If Amtrak rerouted one conventional train at 79 mph, Tampa - Miami, VIA: Bartow - Sebring - Okeechobee - West Palm - Miami would beat or match the Rocket Powered Rat Train.


Yea pretty much. Also did you see "No train type has been chosen, though the state prefers a train powered by electricity, most likely from overhead lines, records indicate."

OVERHEAD LINES???? How tacky!

Maybe so, but a single power wire down the center of a railroad track is a whole lot LESS tacky then driving in a cloud of smog that resembles twilight at high noon.  If you want it environmentally friendly = ELECTRIC, If you want it fuel efficient = ELECTRIC, If you want it quiet = ELECTRIC, If you want fast acceleration and deceleration = ELECTRIC, If you want superior braking = ELECTRIC, If you want multiple power sources = ELECTRIC...   Well it DOES have a few advantages.

This plan is headed where the SKYWAY has gone before... BONK! When Tallahassee wakes up (assuming they still have brain wave activity) someone is going to realize that SOUTHEAST HIGH SPEED RAIL (2 Routes), GULF COAST HIGH SPEED RAIL, and phase 104 of the FLORIDA HIGH SPEED RAIL, all meet in Jacksonville! That is why it is called a "HUB". It's something created by demand and geography, not by mice.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 12:14:01 PM
Quote
Abandoning the Orlando Airport for a connection with the CSX would open up the entire metro to High Speed Rail. I'd be MUCH more likely to ride a HSR train from Lake Mary to International Parkway at 30 mph, then I would spending 50 minutes fighting that damn traffic to a damned inconvenient airport, paying for parking, paying for ticket, and then riding another 50 minutes to my favorite freeway interchange in Tampax.

Now that you mention this, for "connectivity's" sake, it would make better sense to shift the HSR airport station to where the line crosses Sunrail.  Then provide a peoplemover from that intermodal center to directly connect with the airport's terminal (ex. Miami's MIC or Phoenix's Skyharbor Airport peoplemover).

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2010, 12:24:30 PM
so what happened to Texas.....they had a great HSR plan and only got $4 million?

That's easy TU, DUVAL moved to Texas after he left Northeast Florida, look it up, it's history.


Not showing up at the meeting that was pretty much required to know how to apply for the money was a deal killer for Jacksonville Cline.

the applications were submitted by FDOT...and the decision that HSR is Tampa-Orlando-Miami was made in 1998, not at the Orlando meeting.

I'm sure all 200+ people in those rooms knew when the project started... and frankly it wasn't 1998. Maybe that date contained a decision, but decisions had been made as far back as 1972 that I'm aware of.

That meeting was critical to ANY city wanting onboard High Speed Rail, AMTRAK (who co-hosted with the FRA), Commuter Rail or Light Rail.  It was a clear case of "Mr A, meet Mr. B" and in the process this is "X,Y, and Z."
It was as much about Amtrak as about the HSR, even though they didn't bill it as such, sorry YOU missed it because Stephen is right, we DID have a voice in setting national policy.  Both of us made public comments on mike in front of the whole crowd, later we each were assigned a work table, I believe Stephen sat with the CEO's of Amtrak, DOT and some commuter agency's.  Due to name recognition (?) I was put in charge of a table that included Doc Dockery and most of the Central Florida Municipal and HSR team. BTW, the railroaders at both tables agreed with US and not with the High Speed Rail, as planned.



OCKLAWAHA

Captain Zissou

January 28, 2010, 01:04:35 PM
DUMB

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2010, 01:17:57 PM
DUMB

WTF?


OCKLAWAHA

hightowerlover

January 28, 2010, 01:22:15 PM
Call me crazy but if you look at the map on here... Jacksonville is the southernmost terminus of a much more significant Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast chunk of rail.  Connecting Jax to NYC, ATL, DC, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Raliegh, Birmingham and New Orleans. :o

Are you guys really depressed to not be a hub on the South Florida old folks/tourist trolley track?? ???


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703808904575025460095083750.html#project%3DHIGHSPEEDRAIL0904%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 01:27:11 PM
Ock was a bit of a celebrity at the HSR conference, actually.

It is, after all, what he does.  I guess when you write the actual history books of Rail, it tends to lend you a bit of credibility in these things.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 01:41:48 PM
I think DoctorK pretty well summed it up. The station in the middle of NOTHING is no closer to downtown then the classic Tampa Union Station, and has ZERO supporting infrastructure. A good solution for Tampax is to slide those tracks over and get into Tampa Union Station, right alongside Amtrak, Greyhound, Light Rail and HART bus.

Ock...this option was studied...due to the curvatures and the massive ROW that would be needd, it was determined not  to be feasible.

Plus FDOT was able to acquire the former jail site (off I-275) for almost nothing.

FYI, local rail and bus service would all come into the new station as well...and its adjacent to HART's central bus station.

Check out the Tampa Bay Intermodal Centers study

http://www.pbsj.com/Our_Businesses/Consulting/Services/architecture/transit/Pages/Tampa_Bay_Intermodal_Centers.aspx

JeffreyS

January 28, 2010, 02:07:03 PM
Not showing up at the meeting that was pretty much required to know how to apply for the money was a deal killer for Jacksonville Cline.

the applications were submitted by FDOT...and the decision that HSR is Tampa-Orlando-Miami was made in 1998, not at the Orlando meeting.

And next time we will be the guys who did not show up last time. So we will know we can't stroll in there and get the money so we won't go. And the next time we will be the guys who did not show up last time. So we will know we can't stroll in there and get the money so we won't go. And the next time....

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 02:19:21 PM
Not showing up at the meeting that was pretty much required to know how to apply for the money was a deal killer for Jacksonville Cline.

the applications were submitted by FDOT...and the decision that HSR is Tampa-Orlando-Miami was made in 1998, not at the Orlando meeting.

And next time we will be the guys who did not show up last time. So we will know we can't stroll in there and get the money so we won't go. And the next time we will be the guys who did not show up last time. So we will know we can't stroll in there and get the money so we won't go. And the next time....

you got that right jeff.

Its always the same.  Jacksonville always has someone to tell you logically why nothing ever happened here.

The other cities always seem to have the guys that can only explain why things did happen there.

stephendare

January 28, 2010, 02:32:07 PM
And why are you trying to carry JTA water anyways, tufsu?

Its ridiculous, and not having been there you do not know what you are talking about.

The federal officials were trying to get a feel from the room, in order to create relationships and projects.

Had Jacksonville been there, in high gear, Jax would have stood a chance.

Its disingenuous to pretend that the Tampa HSR would have been an 'either or' in the first place.

Without the linkup to Jax, there is no such thing as a national HSR in Florida.  period.

So why pretend otherwise?

FDOT may have backed the tampa line earlier, but there was nothing to keep jacksonville out of the game except its glaring absence.

Maybe instead of 1.25 billion, the state might have gotten an additional billion from the feds with a jacksonville project on line.

In fact, the HSR commission had to be reformed in order to attend the meeting in the first place.  It had completely died and hadnt had a meeting in over a year.

The truth, plain and simple is that our locals f'd it up.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 02:53:32 PM

Its disingenuous to pretend that the Tampa HSR would have been an 'either or' in the first place.

Without the linkup to Jax, there is no such thing as a national HSR in Florida.  period.

So why pretend otherwise?

I suggest you listen to what Vice President Biden said a few minutes ago...basically it was that $ was given to states with projects that made sense and were ready to go!

If you want to blame our leaders from 10-20 years ago for not starting then, fine...but to blame our current leaders for not getting this money is downright wrong.

Also, take a look at the map in the picture on the front page....nobody is talking about building a national system overnight....we are building HSR in pieces (just like Europe and Asia did)....over time Jax. and the rest of the country will get connected.

vicupstate

January 28, 2010, 02:55:46 PM
TUFsu1, you have a point, but it is never to soon to START being a part of the planning and discussions.  If Jax is 20 years behind, is it smart to CONTINUE waiting?  Are we shooting for 25 years behind?

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 02:59:07 PM
TUFsu1, you have a point, but it is never to soon to START being a part of the planning and discussions.  If Jax is 20 years behind, is it smart to CONTINUE waiting?  Are we shooting for 25 years behind?

I agree with you 100% vic....we need to be (and are) planning for Florida HSR Phase 3....connecting Orlando (and/or Miami) with Jax....as well as connecting to othersoutheast cities

All I'm saying is attending (or not) that meeting in Orlando had no bearing on us getting money this time.

JeffreyS

January 28, 2010, 03:02:30 PM
TUFsu1, you have a point, but it is never to soon to START being a part of the planning and discussions.  If Jax is 20 years behind, is it smart to CONTINUE waiting?  Are we shooting for 25 years behind?


I agree with you 100% vic....we need to be (and are) planning for Florida HSR Phase 3....connecting Orlando (and/or Miami) with Jax....as well as connecting to othersoutheast cities

All I'm saying is attending (or not) that meeting in Orlando had no bearing on us getting money this time.
Yes but why is that all you would be saying?

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 03:03:09 PM
Here is the loooooooong range plan:



http://fastlane.dot.gov/

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 03:05:12 PM
How the $8 billion got split up:

BridgeTroll

January 28, 2010, 03:20:43 PM
Chicago will be the king of HSR!

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 03:27:11 PM
wonder why? ;)

BridgeTroll

January 28, 2010, 03:33:24 PM
Centralized location?  Close to Milwaukee?  Home of both the Cubs AND Bears?? :)

mtraininjax

January 28, 2010, 03:53:30 PM
There is no need for HSR in Jax right now, or at least in ORL to TPA there is more demand and more need. Also, when Disney World was built, there was nothing around it, and it grew from there. Same will happen with these stations.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 03:56:11 PM
wonder why? ;)

In all seriousness, look at the transportation routes (including rail) in this country....they converge on Chicago!

heights unknown

January 28, 2010, 07:50:38 PM
I still wonder if anyone (namely Americans/Floridians) are really going to leave their cars (which we love like a fair, rouged cheeked virgin) and ride these trains?  We are not at all like the Europeans, Asians, and others that have these high speed trains.  I too agree that these trains maybe like our Skyway...the trains to nowhere.  I hope they are successful.

Sportmotor

January 28, 2010, 08:19:10 PM
I still wonder if anyone (namely Americans/Floridians) are really going to leave their cars (which we love like a fair, rouged cheeked virgin) and ride these trains?  We are not at all like the Europeans, Asians, and others that have these high speed trains.  I too agree that these trains maybe like our Skyway...the trains to nowhere.  I hope they are successful.

I would if it took me places I needed to go for work or personal for less then driving with-in a decent time frame.
I have to go to Atlanta alot and 6-8 hours and near $80-100 for the trip in gas(and food) is not fun.
Plus I have to go to Orlando alot as well, both in the heart of and outskirts.
Get me on a train for less then that in time and money and I'll ditch my vechical in a heart beat.

Would also be nice to ride the train to and from work everyday.

thelakelander

January 28, 2010, 08:39:24 PM
There is no need for HSR in Jax right now, or at least in ORL to TPA there is more demand and more need. Also, when Disney World was built, there was nothing around it, and it grew from there. Same will happen with these stations.

Will the same happen with our skyway?

simms3

January 28, 2010, 08:48:26 PM
Haven't commented in a looonggg time, but have read these boards since they were on a whole different site.  With all of the news we can all be happy about coming to light just in the last two weeks, I see no reason not to be upset about this arrangement.  I predict that this will be an immense failure.  If Accera is a failure, this will be a worse failure.  I would be embarassed to be a part of this.  Let's separate ourselves just a tad from Orlando and Tampa, and keep it East Coast.  We have a better economy right now than they do, and actually our home and condo median sales prices are higher.  We are the biggest port in the state, and we have a diverse economy, not to mention the military presence.  Let's focus on connecting to the rest of the nation.  If we absolutely have to go to rail in the next decade, which will be a huge monetary loser, let's connect with Miami, and up the Eastern Seaboard.

One thing that set Atlanta apart from the rest of the south was their push for the airport.  We can only see what history brought them afterward.  Rail is not the future, at least in its current form and our current density/culture/extra cash (we are richer than Europe and the rest of the world).  Let's simply keep rail local (commuter) and focus on our airport.  Let's get back to being FL's financial center and get more airline routes.

Bottom line, this proposal does nothing for me.  I know JTA is "dumb," but maybe they knew this would be a big flop, too.

BTW Sportmotor^^^I live in Atlanta, and I am going to DC in a couple of weeks, so to cut expenses (I am a student) I looked at Amtrak.  It was $99 for a one way ticket.  I bought round trip Airtran tickets (and because I live across from a MARTA station that takes me to the Airport and fly to Reagan and take Metro frm there, I don't need a car...I would if I was to take Ammtrak as the Atl station is out of the way) for $189.  Air was cheaper!  And it's not subsidized by us either!  And it is logically more expensive to operate that air route for Airtran than Amtrak to operate the fixed track/train.  Government can't do anything right and believe me when I say that this new HSR will be a complete flop!

Lunican

January 28, 2010, 09:06:22 PM
Simms, air travel is subsidized a lot more than rail travel. So that argument isn't a good one.

urbanlibertarian

January 28, 2010, 09:25:15 PM
Not per passenger mile.

mtraininjax

January 28, 2010, 09:27:26 PM
Simms - You will be very popular when you say air travel is not subsidized, so duck when the arrows start flying.

Quote
Let's separate ourselves just a tad from Orlando and Tampa, and keep it East Coast.  We have a better economy right now than they do, and actually our home and condo median sales prices are higher.  We are the biggest port in the state, and we have a diverse economy, not to mention the military presence.  Let's focus on connecting to the rest of the nation.  

Miami (port everglades) and Tampa have larger and more gross weight ports, Miami should give up and take all cruise ships, and make it easier for us to service containers. Will happen IMO, but will take a few years.

Jax is 23rd in nation in foreclosures, not a pretty sight, no idea what Tampa or Miami or Orlando are at , but we are nowhere near clear of the real estate mess, just take a drive down beach blvd and notice all the for sale/foreclosures on commercial properties, its a joke.

Forget HSR in Jax, no need, no leadership and really no fight in the game. Like you said, let's focus on the port, our expansion of the US Armed forces (carrier) and grow Jax.

tufsu1

January 28, 2010, 10:46:25 PM
Here is the loooooooong range plan:



http://fastlane.dot.gov/

something weird happened to this map...almost everything in the southeast shifted west slightly...so Charlotte looks like its in Greenville and Atlanta looks like its in Birmingham.

BridgeTroll

January 29, 2010, 08:14:14 AM
Good eye!  Either the Feds moved Atlanta or by passed it completely!

heights unknown

January 29, 2010, 09:24:04 AM
I would certainly ride these trains if they saved me time and money, and, if there was an orderly planned "hook up" so to speak to local transportation within the adjoining major cities; that also has to be considered, I feel, in the building and planning of these high speed rail systems.  I also feel they should immediately build and snake them around the state hugging the interstate systems which already adjoin and link to the major cities.  And again, ensure that the local city transportation systems, whether bus, rail, etc., also link "in time" to these high speed rail systems.

"HU"

blizz01

January 29, 2010, 09:51:33 AM
And JAX is the new Brunswick!

finehoe

January 29, 2010, 10:09:35 AM
What has JTA and Jacksonville been planning for over the past 25 years?

This is a serious question. In 1985, what was being discussed and planned for?

A ridiculous pedestrian sky walk for downtown.

thelakelander

January 29, 2010, 11:00:49 AM
and the fight for station locations begins....

Officials Differ Over Best Location of Polk County Stop for High-Speed Rail



Quote
LAKELAND | Lakeland's new mayor, Gow Fields, says Polk County's only stop for the proposed bullet train should be at Interstate 4 at Kathleen Road or U.S. 98 North - not USF Poly.

The certain plan is for the bullet train to travel down the median of Interstate 4. But where will it stop? There's nothing certain about that.

There could be a spat brewing between two friends, the University of South Florida Polytechnic and the city of Lakeland, over where the depot will be.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20100128/NEWS/1285067?tc=ar

heights unknown

February 06, 2010, 08:19:11 PM
This is all a crock; if Jacksonville is not in the equation; I am not interested.

"HU"

tufsu1

February 06, 2010, 09:44:27 PM
This is all a crock; if Jacksonville is not in the equation; I am not interested.

"HU"

why not think regionally....mega regions are the new economic reality when competing globally...and our mega region is Florida

tufsu1

February 12, 2010, 11:06:32 AM
Here's an update on the Lakeland station location issue

http://www.theledger.com/article/20100211/NEWS/2115070/1410?Title=Too-Soon-to-Pick-Rail-Stop-Location-to-Back

Captain Zissou

February 12, 2010, 11:10:56 AM
I agree about mega regions, but this train is still stupid. Can somebody explain the extremely sharp turn the train is supposed to make just west of orlando??  Will the tracks in that area be at a 45 degree angle.

tufsu1

February 12, 2010, 11:28:03 AM
the curve isn't that bad...take a look at the main page for the thread...it shows the route in more detail...far better than some newspaper graphic.

Ocklawaha

February 12, 2010, 11:43:59 AM
The problem with Jacksonville is that we have suffered through 70 years of planning small. We didn't want Disney, didn't want Busch, didn't want tourists, didn't want our railroad hub, and, and, and...

The result, a very big city, with all of the amenities one would normally expect from Green Cove Springs.



OCKLAWAHA

Dog Walker

February 12, 2010, 02:04:28 PM
More like Brunswick, IMHO.

CS Foltz

February 12, 2010, 05:07:10 PM
More like Mayport IMO!

Ocklawaha

February 12, 2010, 05:25:01 PM
Now you guys have gone and made me feel guilty, I WAS a little hard on Green Cove Springs!


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 21, 2010, 07:05:44 AM
HSR station location fight in Polk continues. Lakeland's newspaper's editorial staff believes the best location is the future site of USF Poly, which is roughly about 15 miles east of DT Lakeland.  There is a video in the link that shows exactly how far it is from the city.

Quote
Polk High-Speed-Rail Station - Future's Destination: USF Poly


future USF Poly HSR station rendering by SANTIAGO CALATRAVA | USF POLYTECHNIC

Somewhere in Lakeland City Hall is a booklet with a sleek, fast passenger train on the cover. Pictured with the train blazing by is a conductor, checking the time on his pocket watch. The booklet tells of the importance of having a Polk County stop along a Tampa-Orlando high-speed line.

The booklet isn't new. It was published in 1986, when the Florida High Speed Rail Commission was considering a stop for a proposed bullet train. It seemed close to happening in the mid-1980s, because the talk about such a train had been going on for years.

After more than a quarter century of talking about high-speed rail for the Interstate 4 corridor, after voters approved a constitutional amendment mandating its construction - and after former Gov. Jeb Bush helped reverse that decision six years ago - high-speed rail is on the way.

During all that time a decision about where to locate a Polk County stop between Tampa and Orlando has been as nebulous as the fate of the rail project was when Lakeland's booklet was printed in 1986.

With federal funds now available, the fast train should be running by 2015, says Nazih Haddad, chief operating officer of Florida Rail Enterprise, the group formed to oversee the project.

FRUITFUL DEVELOPMENT

Now that high-speed rail will be built, the Polk Transportation Planning Organization has been asked by the state to recommend a stop for the county. It should look to the future and realize that a rail station at the University of South Florida Polytechnic would help draw a high-tech clientele, fortifying the practical-science mission of the university and the research park planned for its surrounds.

This advanced Northeast Lakeland destination would serve as a model for more fruitful development of Polk's land and economy over the coming decades and into the mid-2000s.

The green field nature of the USF Polytechnic development area would allow a fresh start for nearby infrastructure to grow - with the rail stop as a central component, not a forced addition.

A futuristic picture begins to emerge.

That is especially clear when looking at a 2005 study by the Florida Department of Transportation. It sited the Polk stop on I-4 near Kathleen and the western terminus of the Polk Parkway.

Were it still 2005, that location would be the only one considered. But state officials also have four other Lakeland possibilities along the Interstate: U.S. 98, Kathleen Road, Swindell Road and the USF Poly campus under development for 2012 opening at the eastern terminus of the Polk Parkway.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Transportation Planning Organization is scheduled to meet at The Lakeland Center "to discuss and analyze the candidate stop locations" along the I-4 corridor. The agenda notes that the state has requested the TPO to "endorse a preferred stop location."

STATE OF THE ART

As the week ended, advocates circulated detailed reports backing the locations they represent. More may appear. However, these technical documents blind their proponents to the transformative promise USF Poly holds to draw businesses with green ideas, fresh technology and a new direction for Polk. Locating the stop at USF Poly would further solidify its future and demonstrate a local commitment to practical scientific development.

The university's campus will be state-of-the-art. Its cornerstone structure, a 100,000-square-foot science-and-technology building, will be designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. He is known for his design of transportation centers and bridges throughout the world.

From the standpoint of Polk's TPO, a stop at USF Poly would represent the cutting-edge choice (architect's video rendering: www.tinyurl.com/usfpoly). It would be centrally convenient to local riders, as well as newcomers drawn to the campus, new businesses and housing.

The final decision, however, rests with the Department of Transportation. The train's operator, which will be a private consortium selected through a state bidding process, will have influence in practice. Because that operator will be looking to offset operating costs through ridership, the stop locations may be biased toward short-term economics, so USF Poly would need to move fast.

Whatever the outcome, TPO members need to keep this point in mind from Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields in a memo to TPO members: "All of the sites under consideration have positives and negatives. Our top priority must be securing a stop in Polk County."
http://www.theledger.com/article/20100221/EDIT01/2215017/1036?p=3&tc=pg

CS Foltz

February 21, 2010, 08:15:47 AM
Lets have a smack down match to get a stop in Lakeland! Winner take all and gets their stop! Clean, quick and simple............no consultant allowed!

thelakelander

February 21, 2010, 08:22:44 AM
At least they get to fight over a rail stop and the economic development that could possibly come with it.  Maybe one day we can shrink to the size of Auburndale to have a serious discussion on rail and its impact on the surrounding area.

Ocklawaha

February 21, 2010, 10:01:20 AM
Sad part is Lake, if we don't change our ways quickly, we'll continue to stall out. Doubtlessly Central Florida will continue to grow, in fact the whole High Speed Rail Line is being built on SPRAWL, which it will depend on for passengers.  So we have to ask the question, if we keep treading water, at what point will we meet Auburndale while traveling in oposite directions?


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 23, 2010, 06:29:19 AM
Panel of Officials to Pick Favored Stop for Rail Today

http://www.theledger.com/article/20100222/NEWS/2225054/1134?Title=Panel-of-Officials-to-Pick-Favored-Stop-for-Rail-Today

tufsu1

February 23, 2010, 08:11:16 AM
seems to me that the USF site will win out...all 5 sites are in Lakeland city limits, the Lakeland City Commission wouldn't endorse any site, and it is what the rest of Polk County wants.

thelakelander

February 23, 2010, 08:59:20 AM
After looking at all the info presented so far on the station sites, the USF site makes more sense.  None of these stations are going to draw significant ridership, imo, but the USF site will have a major university and the potential for 1,000s of acres of walkable transit friendly development that can be built around the station.  The rest of the sites really offer nothing more than a park & ride location in the middle of low density suburbia.

thelakelander

February 24, 2010, 12:13:04 AM
What a way to avoid the heat....

Quote
Board Backs USF Poly and Kathleen Train Stops

By Tom Palmer
THE LEDGER


Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 6:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 6:34 p.m.
LAKELAND | Florida transportation officials should consider the USF Poly and Kathleen Road locations as possible sites for Polk’s high-speed rail station, the Polk Transportation Planning Organization Board unanimously recommended today.



The special meeting of the 19-member board at The Lakeland Center follows a regular meeting held Feb. 11 where members received an initial briefing, but declined to make a recommendation.

At issue at today’s meeting was whether to locate the stop at an existing developed area, such as the intersection of Kathleen Road and Interstate 4, or at a relatively undeveloped area planned for major future development, such as the Williams Acquisition Holding Co. site adjacent to the planned USF Polytechnic campus.

Advocates of both views tried to persuade TPO members to pick the site they favored.

Tom Cloud, an Orlando lawyer representing the Williams/USF Poly site, argued that site was the best location because of its technology and its central location between the two major population centers in the county

“This could change the face of Polk County,” Cloud said.

Lakeland planner Chuck Barmby argued that putting a stop near Kathleen Road or U.S. 98 provides links to existing transit, is centrally located between Tampa and Orlando and is near major medical and sports venues.

Jennnifer Stults, TPO director, said the staff drafted a resolution offering two possible sites in hopes of reaching consensus.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20100223/NEWS/100229891/1410?Title=Board-Backs-USF-Poly-and-Kathleen-Train-Stops&tc=ar

I have a solution.  Give my home county two stations.  One in Lakeland and one at US 27.  You'll hit both sides of one of Central Florida's most rapidly growing counties.

Ocklawaha

February 24, 2010, 01:01:22 AM



Once upon a time, 5 flying monkeys from Jacksonville predicted that Florida High Speed Rail was a Sprawl Developers Dream, and that it was not a practical route for mommy and daddy to travel on. Big people rose up to tell the monkeys how blind they were, but the monkeys knew better. All too soon the money started to flow, and the developments started to go up. Wee wee wee! Some of the people yelled, now we will have lot's of jobs forever. But the monkeys shook their heads, as more stations were built the trains only got slower, and people found that they could drive to Tampa or Orlando just as fast and without spending all of that money. So lot's and lot's of people started to travel another way, Commuter Rail and Amtrak became popular. The Great Leader in Tallahassee, tried to fix the trains, soon less were going into airports and more were going into the middle of the cities. People liked that, so nobody noticed when the railroad lanes were paved over for more automobiles on the freeway, and the modern new trains were donated to Hati for dormotory use. Nobody noticed but the 5 flying monkeys, who sat silently with their laptops, shaking their heads...   THE END...





OCKLAWAHA
FLYING MONKEY #1


thelakelander

March 04, 2010, 09:30:39 PM
Quote
More details about high-speed rail project

by Tom Palmer

A few new tidbits about the Tampa-Polk County-Orlando high speed rail project emerged during the opening session of a two-day conference in Orlando.

One is that the ground-level portion  of the  high-speed rail line will be only partially visible because the plan includes building walls along the route. That, of course, is perfectly logical. The last thing the train needs is some car or truck jumping a guard rail on Interstate 4 and derailing it. The high speed rail will run down the I-4 median for most of its route.

Another is that I knew some parts would be elevated, but didnt’ know where. The elevated parts will be the first two miles from the Tampa station before making the connection to I-4 and a section north of the Beach Line on the way to Orlando International Airport.

Nazih Haddad, the guy DOT who has been instrumental in the project planning, also said that although the state has all of the right of way it needs on I-4, there ’s still some right of way left to buy elsewhere along the route in the Orlando area.

He also said the connection to the airport in Orlando will be easier than it  would be otherwise because the corridor under an  section of the runway was designed to accommodate such a project someday.

Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty said one of the challenges, which he and his staff have yet to work out, is how to connect the high-speed rail with SunRail, the planned commuter rail project.
http://county.blogs.theledger.com/11137/more-details-about-high-speed-rail-project/

Ocklawaha

March 05, 2010, 12:27:35 AM
Quote
Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty said one of the challenges, which he and his staff have yet to work out, is how to connect the high-speed rail with SunRail, the planned commuter rail project.

I've got it! Since we're running right off a cliff with this stupid project, let's tie it all together with BUS RAPID TRANSIT, after all, it's "Just like rail - only cheaper..."

This train project get's dumber every time I hear more of the details, by building walls around the train, we might as well order the equipment without windows and save ourselves a bunch of money. I can see the tourists talking and sharing their experiences of Florida by train:

"Wow, what a view Louie! THAT looked just like Florida Rock Concrete!"

"No Vinny, dat's definitely Gate Concrete there!"

"Well Louie, wadda suppose that patch was then?"

"Gotta be Sakrete Vinny, Gotta be Sakrete!"

"Ooh Yeah, your always right Louie, you sure know your cement walls..."

"Yeah well Vinny, when you do 20-life in Singsing, or 30 minutes on Florida's High Speed Train, you learn the scenery!"


BRILLIANT!


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

March 05, 2010, 08:33:01 AM
Quote
Orlando Conference Identifies High-Speed Rail's Success Factors

Industry experts say focus needs to be on safety, environmental benefits, convenience.

ORLANDO | High-speed rail's success in Florida and the rest of the United States lies in effectively promoting and selling it as a safe, convenient, environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

That was the message about 250 consultants and vendors attending the High Speed Rail 2010 conference in Orlando were told Thursday.

But to do that, leaders have to communicate openly with the public and plan routes and station locations that will create jobs, revitalize communities and get people where they want to go efficiently.

The two-day conference at the Hilton on International Drive was organized by US High Speed Rail Association of Washington, D.C., to promote high-speed rail projects across the United States.

Thursday's conference featured presentations by Florida public officials, high-speed rail company representatives and legal, financial, development, engineering and media experts. They discussed how Florida's project - and any other high-speed rail project - should be planned, promoted, built and used for economic development.

Ed Turanchik, a longtime Tampa leader for improved transit, said the way Florida handles the project is crucial.

"Florida high-speed rail will determine the success of high-speed rail in the United States," he said.

Phase One of the high-speed rail, which just received transportation stimulus money, will run between Orlando International Airport and downtown Tampa. In between will be only three stops: the Orange County Civic Center, Celebration and a stop in Polk County.

"We are the state that can build it faster than anyone else in the country," said Nazih Haddad, chief operating officer for the Florida Department of Transportation's Florida Rail Enterprise.

Haddad said state officials are still consulting with the Federal Railroad Administration on technical details, but said he hoped to "have something on the street in six months."

The Polk Transportation Planning Organization board recently recommended the USF Polytechnic location as Polk County's high-speed rail station site, with the Kathleen Road area as its second choice.

Outside the meeting room, companies that operate high- speed rail systems in Korea, Spain and elsewhere had set up tables with models of their trains.

Speaker after speaker touted the benefits of high-speed rail as everything from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reviving Florida's economy.

The location for the conference appeared to be a nod to Florida's seeming head start in developing the first high-speed rail route in the United States.

But it takes more than good intentions to make the system work, said Ceceila Ribalaygua, a Spanish academic whose research has focused on high-speed rail in Europe.

Ribalaygua, who is associated with the Universidad de Cantabria, said it's important to put stations in the right locations, where there's room for economic development and where the transit infrastructure is in place.

In addition, communities need to make stations architecturally inviting and to come up with ways to package high-speed rail with tourism and business travel, a concept she called "gray matter travel, not goods."

"The train won't help by itself; you need strategies to take advantage of it," she said.

One key strategy ahead of the project is to make sure it doesn't lose public support, said Michael Kehs of Hill & Knowlton, a public relations company that has been hired by the US High Speed Rail Association.

Although the project has a lot of things going for it, Kehs said, very little is really known about the public's support.

Superficially there appears to be support, but one of the challenges is to make sure people understand that high-speed rail is different from commuter rail, light rail and freight rail, he said.

Kehs said an aggressive public information campaign is necessary to define the project in the public's mind and to deal quickly with misinformation.

He said there are other potential obstacles that include fiscal conservatives who object to the spending, people who are uncomfortable with the foreign involvement in the project and disputes over land-use and environmental issues.

Mary Hamill of Global 5 Communications, a firm specializing in transportation issues, said it will be important for Florida to be transparent about public funding and jobs.

In addition, it will be important to use Web sites to direct passengers to other transit connections and to form partnerships to promote tourism and business travel and to provide customer service.

Today's agenda includes a seminar on real estate development around rail stations. The luncheon speaker is U.S. Congressman John Mica, R-Winter Park.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20100304/NEWS/3045084/1410?Title=Orlando-Conference-Identifies-High-Speed-Rail-s-Success-Factors

tufsu1

March 05, 2010, 10:39:41 AM
Only $900 to attend this 2 day conference...what a deal!

buckethead

March 05, 2010, 01:49:40 PM
Fast trains are cool . . . and very expensive
By CARL HIAASEN

Of all the ways Florida could blow through $1.25 billion in federal recovery funds, a bullet train is certainly the flashiest.

Connecting Tampa, Orlando and Miami by high-speed rail is a scheme that's been chugging around for decades, and the prospects for profitability are the same today as they always were: Nil.

The money delivered by President Barack Obama last week in Tampa should have come with a note: ``Here's a gift from Uncle Sam. Now go build yourselves something you can't possibly afford to operate.''

Almost every passenger rail service in this country bleeds red ink and requires massive public subsidies, from Miami-Dade's infamous Metrorail to long-struggling Amtrak.

That didn't discourage Florida officials from eagerly petitioning the Obama administration for stimulus money to fund a sleek high-speed train.

The $1.25 billion grant announced by the president was the ``down payment'' for an 84-mile leg between Tampa and Orlando, braking at major tourist attractions along the way. The second phase, 240 miles, would link Orlando and Miami.

``An attractive and competitive transportation alternative for residents and visitors'' is what the government calls it. An extravagant fantasy is what it really is.

Fast trains are very cool, and these babies will streak along at average speeds of 168 mph to 186 mph. Unfortunately, such a high-tech rail system can't pay for itself.

Ridership depends on friendly ticket pricing. Consequently, every mile traveled on the bullet train will end up being bankrolled by public dollars.

Thirteen years ago, when the debate was in high gear, a national transit consultant released a 55-page report predicting that a high-speed railway between Central Florida and Miami would be a fiscal disaster.

Wendell Cox of the James Madison Institute said that not enough people would take the train, partly because it was cheaper for families to rent a car and drive the same routes. He estimated that the high-speed rail would cost Floridians between $14 billion and $39 billion in ongoing subsidies.

Unlike the U.S. government, states can't print their own money. Florida's Constitution requires a balanced budget, which means that running the bullet train would siphon precious funds away from schools, social services and public works projects.

Despite the manifest drawbacks, the dream of connecting South Florida and Central Florida by modern rail has refused to stall. Between 1996 and 1998, the Legislature appropriated $77 million just for bullet-train research.

Over the years, the project has had avid proponents in both parties, including Bob Graham and, more recently Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Charlie Crist.

An exception was Jeb Bush, who as governor led a charge that rallied voters to repeal a constitutional amendment authorizing funding of a bullet train. Bush believed the project was too costly, and he was right.

In those days, supporters touted high-speed rail as a way of easing highway congestion and spurring commerce between the state's key urban centers. Now, with unemployment sky-high, the bullet train is being hyped more as a jobs program.

There's no doubt that building a railway will put thousands of people to work for a few years. But, once the project is finished, it is estimated to leave only 600 permanent jobs.

Weigh those against the enormous long-term cost of maintaining and subsidizing a 324-mile train system, which will necessitate cutting or scrapping other state programs that currently employ hundreds of workers.

To be sure, high-speed rail will be a windfall for the consultants, developers and builders involved in the construction phases. The state agency handing out the contracts is the Department of Transportation, which has long pushed for a bullet train.

If you know anything about the inside politics of mass transit, the thought of entrusting $1.25 billion in stimulus money to the DOT is heart-stopping. Good luck trying to keep tabs on it all.

True, many capital projects being launched by recovery funds -- bridges, roads, levies -- will provide only temporary boosts to local economies. Yet you can also argue that, for somebody who's out of work, a construction job lasting six months or a year is better than no job at all.

The problem with the bullet-train boondoggle is that the back-end costs will smother the front-end benefits, and create a perpetual sucking drain on Florida's frail budget.

We'd be better off using the money to pave potholes.


http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/01/31/1454259/fast-trains-are-cool-and-very.html

JeffreyS

March 05, 2010, 02:05:11 PM
I am no big fan of this first leg of the Florida HSR but CARL HIAASEN doesn't have a clue as to what the problems with it are. His we should spend the money on roads rant is just dumb. As if roads pay for themselves. He clearly did not spend five minutes trying to inform himself on the subject.

buckethead

March 05, 2010, 02:23:02 PM
I am no big fan of this first leg of the Florida HSR but CARL HIAASEN doesn't have a clue as to what the problems with it are. His we should spend the money on roads rant is just dumb. As if roads pay for themselves. He clearly did not spend five minutes trying to inform himself on the subject.
I read that as tongue in cheek. (paving potholes would be as cost effective)
 Are you saying you disagree with the basic premise of the article: HSR will be a finacial debauchle?

tufsu1

March 05, 2010, 02:45:16 PM
Here's a more serious version asking similar questions

http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=463426

JeffreyS

March 05, 2010, 03:50:44 PM
I am no big fan of this first leg of the Florida HSR but CARL HIAASEN doesn't have a clue as to what the problems with it are. His we should spend the money on roads rant is just dumb. As if roads pay for themselves. He clearly did not spend five minutes trying to inform himself on the subject.
I read that as tongue in cheek. (paving potholes would be as cost effective)
 Are you saying you disagree with the basic premise of the article: HSR will be a financial debauchle?

It is a tough call.  I am kind of on his side that this isn't a great place to start. I just don't agree with the "if it isn't going to pay for itself it shouldn't be done".  Transit is one of the few government run programs that attempts to pay for itself and somehow that makes it worse fiscally than those that generate zero revenue.  I want transit I just feel a radical Amtrak higher speed rail expansion throughout the state would give us more bang for the buck.  Or perhaps streetcar projects in the core of our cities would give us smarter growth and save money in many areas.

urbanlibertarian

March 05, 2010, 04:28:29 PM
Roads and highways don't make a profit but the subsidies for them in $$ per passenger mile are tiny compared to rail.  Air travel subsidies are even tinier in $$ per passenger mile and don't need much use of eminent domain for ROW aquisition.  With the goverment in charge of it I expect this HSR experiment to turn out a lot like the Skyway has.

buckethead

March 05, 2010, 04:30:30 PM
I agree with that assessment. He should have refrained from the "profitability" mantra. Otherwise, his article makes sense.

I don't recall much praise for Jeb Bush from him in the past.

tufsu1

March 18, 2010, 09:17:13 AM
Potential rail hub at OIA?

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-goaa-high-speed-rail-20100317,0,1341824.story

Ocklawaha

March 18, 2010, 10:48:46 AM
Roads and highways don't make a profit but the subsidies for them in $$ per passenger mile are tiny compared to rail.  Air travel subsidies are even tinier in $$ per passenger mile and don't need much use of eminent domain for ROW aquisition.  With the goverment in charge of it I expect this HSR experiment to turn out a lot like the Skyway has.

Really? Who have you been reading? There was a story by the highway lobby that stated how much cheaper airlines were then rail, but it's so full of holes it won't hold up to any serious investigation. Actually the per passenger subsidy in the USA for airline passengers runs from around $40 to as high as $600.  Even the most conservative think tanks place Amtrak at about $35 and they make no attempt to catalog high density urban rail.

I would agree with you that Orlando has seen too many rainbows and this particular project, on these particular routes smell worse then the south end of the proverbial northbound mule. Building a hub at OIA makes about as much sense as JTA building our own "transportation center" in Lawtey. If we tried something that stupid, would the press then jump onboard to explain how many millions are going to ride it to Gainesville? If your city is called MICKEY  I mean Orlando, I guess it does.



OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

March 18, 2010, 03:39:45 PM
Yeah buddy! Rat Rail here we come! This makes about as much sense as the coming OIA HUB.........watch! The name should be change to the "Central Florida $kyway"!

urbanlibertarian

March 18, 2010, 05:52:51 PM
Ock, not per passenger.  Per passenger mile.

thelakelander

March 25, 2010, 07:08:56 AM
Here are a few renderings of the Orlando airport station:









tufsu1

May 04, 2010, 10:40:11 AM
Politicking for the next phase is in full swing

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/04/1611582/florida-pledges-to-seek-funds.html

CS Foltz

May 04, 2010, 11:52:20 AM
It is a pity that "Rat Rail" gets priority over something that could benefit the state!

tufsu1

May 04, 2010, 01:09:00 PM
It is a pity that "Rat Rail" gets priority over something that could benefit the state!

glad to see your message hasn't changed

CS Foltz

May 04, 2010, 02:55:38 PM
Thank you Sir! Train to nowhere as HSR is not true HSR! For the money being spent (yours and my tax dollars hard at work contributing to the deficit) a rail line to no where does nothing to enhance state wide mass transit! Miami leg is not funded yet and all of that money could have gone to upgrading FEC/AMTRAK rail and we would have something for the dollars instead of a showcase from nowhere to nowhere! Bad move for the dollars!

tufsu1

May 04, 2010, 03:03:46 PM
here's my frustration with your "its my tax dollars" argument....over 50% of Florida's tax revenues come from south Florida...how do you think those people feel when their money is spent in north Florida...like the 25% state share that would come for commuter rail or streetcars in Jacksonville?

CS Foltz

May 04, 2010, 03:13:55 PM
I can not argue with that but must point out.........it is a matter of population location right? Tallahassee is controled by the southern regions and northest representation is minute! I don't tell Miami what to do or how to do it............they have options we don't ie Sunrail/Metro Rail? I don't really remember just which one is down that way.....they did not form a special taxing district to pay for it, it is still subsidized by state funds and I believe the Feds have a finger in that pie also! State gas tax is accross the board, not counting the local tax but Federal as well as State funds help them to operate that system! Let them build all of the concrete they want, toll it or whatever makes them happy! At the rate Miami is growing, we may become a suburb sooner than you think! We need a rail system that benefits the east coast from there to here, so the state can come off of what should be a part of our money also!

Mattius92

May 04, 2010, 03:16:48 PM
another thing is, say if you asked someone outside of Florida, and ask them to name one city from Florida that you know of or you would like to live. How large of a chance do you think they will say Jacksonville.

We are like the largest unknown city in Florida, why we have that title... I could only guess. Maybe its because we have virtually nothing to offer, or maybe our football team just isn't good enough. All I can say is, if we want to get anything we certainly need to me known.

thelakelander

May 14, 2010, 06:41:01 AM


Quote
Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail plan gets OK

TALLAHASSEE - The federal Railroad Administration has given Florida approval to begin designing, obtaining land and building the nation's first major high-speed rail line.

State transportation officials today said they had received the agency's consent for the Orlando-Tampa route.

Surveying already has begun, but now the state can do additional work that's needed to seek bids for constructing and operating the train.

President Barack Obama in January announced Florida would get $1.25 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail, about half of what's needed for the Orlando-Tampa segment. Plans call for eventually adding a Miami-Orlando leg.
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/may/13/tampa-orlando-high-speed-rail-plan-gets-ok/

Mattius92

May 14, 2010, 12:31:39 PM
People are saying that HSR wont make any profit, and it wont till a system is built, and not just a statewide system but a national system. On top of that it needs to be fast, fast enough and large enough that it could replace airplanes as the number one source of transportation. Once poeple start choosing rail over air, then the money will start to come. Sitting around and saying its worthless to build HSR is just making our nation look stupider and stupider. Countries like France, Japan, Taiwan and Germany have country-wide systems that are profitable. While our country is a lot larger, we still need to start with the little pieces and then eventually connect the system into a nation wide form or high speed transportation.

I would ride a train any day over flying if I could. However our passenger train system greatly lacks it potential.

Coolyfett

May 14, 2010, 02:15:11 PM
another thing is, say if you asked someone outside of Florida, and ask them to name one city from Florida that you know of or you would like to live. How large of a chance do you think they will say Jacksonville.

We are like the largest unknown city in Florida, why we have that title... I could only guess. Maybe its because we have virtually nothing to offer, or maybe our football team just isn't good enough. All I can say is, if we want to get anything we certainly need to me known.

I ask many people that very question....Miami & Orlando is what people often answer. Its for a lot of reasons. 

thelakelander

May 28, 2010, 06:42:03 AM
Obama gives an additional $66 million to Florida HSR project.

Quote
Obama administration releases $66 million more for high-speed rail project

By Robert Trigaux, Times Staff Writer
Posted: May 27, 2010 04:28 PM

ORLANDO — Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told a gathering of Tampa Bay and Orlando business leaders here today that an additional $66.6 million is being released to fund a planned high-speed rail service between Tampa and Orlando.

The funding is on top of $1.25 billion announced by President Obama during a visit to the University of Tampa earlier this year.

"The president's vision for high-speed rail will forever change the way Americans travel by offering new transportation options," LaHood said. "The grants released today are merely the very beginning of many more to follow."

The money will be used for program management and preliminary engineering, he added.

If all goes on schedule, the 84-mile transit is slated to begin operation with hourly trips between the two cities in 2015.

full article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/obama-administration-releases-66-million-more-for-high-speed-rail-project/1098130

tufsu1

July 06, 2010, 08:47:27 AM
This is a bit comical (and as someone who worked on it, sad)...after 7 years of planning, folks in Tampa still can't agree on where the HSR station(s) should be

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jul/06/questions-arise-over-high-speed-rail-tia/news-metro/

CS Foltz

July 06, 2010, 01:20:23 PM
tufsu......I feel your pain! I guess we need to do another study maybe huh?;) Tis a sad state of affairs when we are getting ready to spend $1.2 Billion Dollars and local governments can't get it together enough to designate stopping points for a system that is supposed to be a "Jewel of Transportation"! From nowhere to nowhere and maybe to Miami, if they can get funding for it! If that happens ..........it will still go nowhere being a stand alone system..............a major waste of money and effort!

JayBird

December 05, 2013, 05:11:01 PM
Being that it seems that High Speed Rail seems to be unable to get off the ground coast to coast, I am beginning to think policies and regulations have nothing to do with it ... Maybe it is just there isn't a demand for such a system to be in place and thus no momentum behind any push.

Quote
In another key setback to the California bullet train project, federal regulators have rejected the state's request to exempt a large Central Valley segment of proposed track from a lengthy planning review.
The action affects part of a 29-mile rail section to be built near Fresno, where state officials have already awarded a construction contract. The decision is likely to complicate, delay and substantially drive up the cost on that initial $1-billion package of work.

http://mobile.masstransitmag.com/news/11266531/bullet-train-given-another-setback?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS131129003

Which begs to ask the question: would those billions being used or set aside for High Speed Rail projects be better off going to communities to fund intercity rail, regional rail, and local streetcar projects? Perhaps if states or metro areas received those funds to build expansion projects connecting to the Amtrak system local, regional and national transportation will see that paradigm shift the High Speed Rail projects were suppose to usher in.
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