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Florida High Speed Rail - The Conservative Way

Jacksonville stands at the door to regain its leadership position as the railroad gateway to Florida. Within the last week we have heard a new governor suggest he would never support rail, a FDOT official that thinks our train station should be at the airport, a report that the City told Amtrak the concourse at Jacksonville Terminal was "an old baggage tunnel," and that a certain white haired JTA planner has no intention of allowing selective condensing of the Jacksonville Transportation Center plan.

Published November 19, 2010 in Transit      156 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

The ignorance of certain political leaders is scary when they address this issue. Likewise the "We have/need highways," "Amtrak tickets are subsidized," "Where are the private investors," "We love our cars too much," or the "I paid taxes in New Jersey my entire working life so I'll be damned if I'll pay for a sidewalk in Florida," crowds are locked into Neanderthal thinking.

First, we already have rail. Rail is vital. Rail is cheaper then building highways and has 2.5 times the capacity. Rail also has certain travel advantages over airlines, city center to city center, ability to connect population centers with smaller towns, fuel savings, air quality, etc. Rail likewise has advantages over highways.  Highways promote sprawl while rail is more economical, faster, comfortable and has greater capacity. Most importantly, it promotes dense, walkable, sustainable and proven urban growth. The current national average return on new rail investment, even if NOBODY rides, is $14 for every dollar invested.

"On Tuesday, Subsidy Scope, a subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trust, reported that Amtrak, America's passenger rail company, "lost" an average of $38 per passenger. Citing a new metric for train depreciation, the report suggested that the train line has been less than transparent in its estimation of its own profitability.

"While it is interesting that the government spends an average of $38 on each Amtrak passenger, this isn't really news. Over a year ago, in fact, Amtrak president Alex Kummant stated that each passenger on the train line represents a public capital expenditure of approximately $40, and similar figures have been bandied about for years. In fact, the only truly surprising thing is that some conservative think tanks and advocacy organizations continue to criticize the corporation for its failure to turn a profit. The underlying message seems to be that Amtrak is a financial failure, and that if rail travel were privatized, it would somehow be able to make a profit.

"The truth is that Amtrak is not designed to make money; rather, it is designed to provide a public service. The same could be said of the rest of America's transportation network: none of the country's transportation systems generate profit or pay for themselves.  For example, the airlines rely on a patchwork of municipal, state, and federal funding to finance the cost of airports. Meanwhile, federal funds pay for airport security and taxes pay for the FAA. Many pilots are trained by the military and much of the avionics used in private aircraft is developed under military contract. If these costs were transferred to airline passengers, the price of a plane ticket would be prohibitive.


Roads are subsidized by a plethora of tax payer financed sources to make it feasible for people to drive and sit in congestion.

Ever think about America's roads? The highway trust fund, which is ostensibly funded by gas taxes, still receives money from Congress, while the various agencies that oversee its administration and police its passengers are all funded by taxes. Again, if these costs were transferred to individual travelers, few people could afford to drive.

"Taken on a passenger-by-passenger basis, trains cost taxpayers far less than cars, planes, motorcycles or rickshaws. The big difference, as National Corridor Initiative president and CEO James P. RePass noted in a recent interview, is that "Subsidies for airlines and highways are far less obvious than Amtrak's single line item."



A rendering of Florida High Speed Rail's only proposed walkable urban station in downtown Tampa.

So what is wrong with the Florida High Speed Rail plan, and so right about Orlando and Jacksonville's commuter rail plan or the Florida East Coast plans? You'll recall that I stated that rail also has certain travel advantages over airlines, city center to city center and the ability to connect population centers with smaller towns, something the Orlando - Tampa plan ignores. If ridership is lower then projected as I predict, then where are the fuel savings? The advantages over highways evaporate if rail itself promotes sprawl and how could it miss when Interstate 4 is located a considerable undeveloped distance north of the communities between Orlando and Tampa. While rail is more economical, and faster, it will be neither if its finances run backward faster then the trains themselves. Even capacity might be questioned if the entire line is squeezed in the median of freeways while comfort might vanish if it is built on elevated structures and settling in our sink hole prone state causes galloping. Most important how does rail promote dense, walkable, sustainable, proven urban growth when it misses the urban cores and punches through none of the population centers in between.


The Florida High Speed Rail route (light blue) between Tampa and Orlando misses most of Central Florida's population centers.

So HIGH SPEED RAIL for Florida? In my professional opinion the short answer is NO. The reason is that the Florida plan is fatally flawed, as I have pointed out rail's advantages are its connectivity, and a route from Orlando's inconveniently located airport, to an amusement park, to a parking garage north of downtown Tampa misses the mark. Nobody lives along Interstate 4 with the population of this corridor located three to nine miles south.  This project will do nothing for the residents of growing communities like Lakeland, Brandon, Deland, Sanford, Winter Park, Kissimmee, Winter Haven and Plant City. In fact, from perhaps 75% of the Orlando area, the 35-55 minute trek to the airport plus parking and wait time will more then kill any speed advantage over the private automobile - and if I drive I won't have to rent a car in Tampa.



The Pacific Surfliner is a 350-mile Amtrak corridor passenger service serving Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo. With 2.89 million passengers in fiscal year 2008, this is Amtrak's most heavily traveled service outside of the Northeast Corridor, covering 59.1% of its operating expenses through ticket sales.


Burbank Airport Station image by Red Granite at www.flickr.com.


Florida has abandoned rail travel at a state government level for some 50 years, and a magic flying train will not be the quick fix in the game of catch up. We may only get one shot at this and we can't afford to blow it for the entire country. Where are our corridor trains? Where is our intra-state Amtrak network?  How have we rebuilt ridership? Where is our demand? When you hear the word train do you think airport? Where is our connectivity? Can I get a day train to Ocala, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Ft. Myers or Sarasota? How about an overnight between Jacksonville and Pensacola or Miami first? Why not conventional intercity rail connections to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago,  Memphis or New Orleans? Shouldn't we concentrate on fixing what we have lost and rebuilding the patronage before we reinvent the wheel?



An Amtrak Florida corridor service could be established on existing rail lines providing better service to millions of more Florida residents than the current High Speed Rail plan for a fraction of the costs.

I'm not against High Speed Rail, but I think the approach the State is taking over on the Florida East Coast, where high(er) speed rail is being pursued is the right approach. City center to city center, connecting smaller cities, increasing headways, speeding up schedules, improving stations, track, equipment and signaling.  We should grow our way to success which won't be measured in profit, rather it will be measured in economic terms with a booming transit oriented development trend. While high speed rail, airplanes or new highway lanes will never solve our congestion pains, properly planned and integrated together they can provide choices that could mean you'll never have to sit in traffic again.

While Governor elect Rick Scott and long time friend Representative John Mica's broad axe for all rail, and for Amtrak respectively, may not be an acceptable action, Florida's HSR plan certainly needs some precision surgical correction. Even the nation's first privately operated or railroad operated passenger train network is not out of the question if the pot could be sweetened with tax breaks and credits. We can blindly kill it all, or plan to succeed and work our plan.  



Railroad stations at the airport or the return of the grand old lady of downtown, Jacksonville Terminal?  Really Florida, the choice is up to you.

Editorial by Robert W. Mann







156 Comments

Garden guy

November 19, 2010, 07:25:51 AM
With Florida's conservative record we can all forget about high speed around here. Heck it took us generations for this state to allow gays to adopt...trains are way too advanced for them. They'll spend millions to ban it I'll bet. Our governor is a thief and liar what. Makes anyone think he or his followers are going to support anything like hsr.

JeffreyS

November 19, 2010, 08:05:08 AM
Way to tell it like it is.

wsansewjs

November 19, 2010, 09:29:15 AM


UGH MetroJacksonville! You just brought me back bad memories. When I was working in Orange Park, I had to cross Blanding Blvd. every morning on that street in the photo after riding the WS2 on GayFuckingTA(JTA). To make matter worse, I have a limited vision.

_______________________________________________________________________

Now on to the high speed rail. I have personally seen the CALTrains which runs up and down along San Jose -> San Francisco and other cities. It is very impressive and extremely successful rail project started few decades ago. In fact, my sister used to live in an apartment that is right next to the CALTrain station. They sneak in pretty quiet throughout the nighttime, then boom as fast they can muster to their destinations.

It is REALLY nice and inspirational to have HSR here in Florida, but I can see everyone's perspective, even I am a huge supporter of HSR. Use what we have already in Florida, and build solid foundation that can be flexible for any future upgrades including extending to HSR-standard. I can go on all day about this topic.

The real key here is be realistic. If we can strike a balance between vision and reality, then we can create something beautiful.

-Josh

jaxlore

November 19, 2010, 11:29:16 AM
Great article. Many good points. Will things change anytime soon. I hope.

Fallen Buckeye

November 19, 2010, 07:01:35 PM
Wouldn't making use of what we have in place and making cost-effective improvements to infrastructure actually be a conservative approach? It's not a conservative/liberal issue to me. It's an issue of common sense.

Jumpinjack

November 20, 2010, 12:05:02 PM
Here's a new anti-train twist:

Quote
    * The Wall Street Journal,  NOVEMBER 20, 2010

The Allure of Techno-Glamour
      By VIRGINIA POSTREL

When Robert J. Samuelson published a Newsweek column last month arguing that high-speed rail is "a perfect example of wasteful spending masquerading as a respectable social cause," he cited cost figures and potential ridership to demonstrate that even the rosiest scenarios wouldn't justify the investment. He made a good, rational case—only to have it completely undermined by the evocative photograph the magazine chose to accompany the article.

The picture showed a sleek train bursting through blurred lines of track and scenery, the embodiment of elegant, effortless speed. It was the kind of image that creates longing, the kind of image a bunch of numbers cannot refute. It was beautiful, manipulative and deeply glamorous.

The same is true of photos of wind turbines adorning ads for everything from Aveda's beauty products to MIT's Sloan School of Management. These graceful forms have succeeded the rocket ships and atomic symbols of the 1950s to become the new icons of the technological future. If the island of Wuhu, where games for the Wii console play out, can run on wind power, why can't the real world?

Policy wonks assume the current rage for wind farms and high-speed rail has something to do with efficiently reducing carbon emissions. So they debate load mismatches and ridership figures. These are worthy discussions and address real questions.

But they miss the emotional point.

To their most ardent advocates, and increasingly to the public at large, these technologies aren't just about generating electricity or getting from one city to another. They are symbols of an ideal world, longing disguised as problem solving. You can't counter glamour with statistics.

Glamour always contains an element of illusion. (The word originally meant a literal magic spell.) By obscuring some details and heightening others, it offers an escape from the compromises, flaws and distractions of real life. It shows no bills on the kitchen counter, no blisters under the high heels, no pimples on the movie star's face.

In those glamour shots, wind power seems clean, free and infinitely abundant. Turbines spin silently and sometimes appear barely taller than a child. The wind blows constantly and in exactly the right amount—never so much that it piles up unwanted power and never so little that it requires backup supply. The sky is unfailingly photogenic, a backdrop of either puffy clouds or a brilliant sunset; the landscape is both empty and beautiful; and there are no transmission lines anywhere.

The image of a speeding train, meanwhile, invites you to imagine taking it when and where you want, with no waiting, no crowds and no expensive tickets. Like the turbines, high-speed trains exemplify autonomy and grace, sliding along effortlessly, with no visible source of fuel. To a stressed-out public, they promise an escape from traffic jams—and, at least until the first terrorism scare, from the hassles, intrusion and delays of airport security.

For all its deceptiveness and mystery, glamour reveals emotional truths. What today's green techno-glamour demonstrates, first and foremost, is that its audience has no inclination to give up the benefits of modernity and return to the pre-industrial state idealized by radical greens. Neither the Unabomber nor Henry David Thoreau would go for wind farms and high-speed rail. To the contrary, these iconic new machines cater to what Al Gore denounced in "Earth in the Balance" as "the public's desire to believe that sacrifice, struggle and a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary." They promise that a green future will be just as pleasant as today, only cleaner and more elegant.

For at least some technophiles, in fact, the trains and windmills are goods in and of themselves, with climate change providing a reason to force the development and adoption of cool new machines that wouldn't otherwise catch on. These technologies also restore the idea of progress as big, visible engineering projects—an alternative to the decentralized, hidden ingenuity of computer code. They evoke the old World's Fair sense of hope and wonder, a feeling President Barack Obama draws on when he endorses high-speed rail subsidies as "building for the future." They are the latest incarnation of flying cars and electricity too cheap to meter.

The problems come, of course, in the things glamour omits, including all those annoyingly practical concerns the policy wonks insist on debating. Neither trains nor wind farms are as effortlessly liberating as their photos suggest. Neither really offers an escape from the world of compromises and constraints. The same is true, of course, of evening gowns, dream kitchens and tropical vacations. But at least the people who enjoy that sort of glamour pay their own way.
—Virginia Postrel is the author of "The Future and Its Enemies" and "The Substance of Style." She is writing a book on glamour.

Ocklawaha

November 20, 2010, 09:46:38 PM
This is what makes the news from Tampa so compelling. Tampa is home to USF and USF is home to CUTR the so-called Florida transit "think tank," that is long on highways and quite short on "think." Out of this same campus comes the NATIONAL BUS RAPID TRANSIT INSTITUTE, the clown act that has made about every anti-rail argument known to man and carried that gospel to Tallahassee to feed the minions of Tea Party and Republican slant. This is the same bunch that came up with the clever line, "BRT JUST LIKE RAIL ONLY CHEAPER..." CUTR also claimed buses had a higher capacity then rail IF they operated on 2 second headways! Man you better jump on or off pretty damn fast or your flat as a mat in Florida... and THESE are the people that have influenced our capital, our new governor and oh yes good old Steve (Skyway) Arrington, senior planner for JTA.

OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

November 21, 2010, 07:24:36 AM
Makes too much sense Gentlemen!  CUTR, as you say Ock, is long on highways and extremely short on think! I don't but it for one minute..............bovines! Maybe Mr Arrington should think seriously about retiring? Time for talk is past and it's past time to do something besides concreting over every inch of land within sight! People don't think about the "Maintanance" cost for our roads and everyone that goes in, at some time in the future will be needing work on it! Kings Avenue on I95 is coming up and I look forward to 4 to 5 years of traffic congestion beyond the normal bottle neck!

peestandingup

November 21, 2010, 12:02:12 PM
"While high speed rail, airplanes or new highway lanes will never solve our congestion pains, properly planned and integrated together they can provide choices that could mean you'll never have to sit in traffic again."

And this is why IMO we'll never see this in our lifetimes. I truly believe that we as a nation have gone so far with our car-centric society that it'll take many decades to turn it around, just like it took decades to originally kill the railroads back in the day. With the slow way our governments work, the special interests, lobbyists, big oil's influence & just people's mindsets in general, sadly it doesn't look good.

Seriously, sit down & really think of how many people/businesses benefit from your ass having to take your car everywhere you go & how much power they have & then you'll see the scope of this thing. They ain't about to lose that. This is why we're really starting to suck as a nation of "do nothings" & getting smoked by other nations.

I think anyone who wants this type of lifestyle & true choices in transportation are gonna have to either move to a *very* small handful of cities in the US or just move to Europe. :(

Ocklawaha

November 21, 2010, 01:28:46 PM
Exactly why a conventional equipped train, on current track is the correct choice for Florida as opposed to Disney's flying train in Central Florida. For Faye and others that want to argue "job creation" from High Speed Rail, consider that capacity increases, new signaling, crossing protection, and general track upgrades to increase speeds and frequencies would not only provide just as many high quality jobs as HSR but more long term or continuous employment. The concept of HrSR is simple, the end result will be HIGH SPEED RAIL with customers, more cost coverage from the farebox and routes built on demand rather then dream studies.

Quick, think of a state in the USA most known for automobiles and FREEway's...  I won't say the name but the initials are CA. Would you believe this is the same state that is leading the nation in a rapid conversion and adaptation to rail? TRUE! In fact California has become an icon for how to do it.

This can easily happen in our lifetime, in fact if the Florida East Coast trains, and the Gulf Wind (Sunset Limited) reinstatement can beat any construction on Mickey's Flying Train, common sense is more likely to prevail over the whole state. Success of 90 MPH conventional Amtrak Trains would show Tallahassee the power of sensible  usable rail. Take these Billions and spread them throughout the whole state with a statewide network.


OCKLAWAHA

finehoe

November 23, 2010, 04:40:38 PM
Any piece that starts off quoting faux-economist hack Robert J. Samuelson isn't to be taken seriously.

tayana42

November 23, 2010, 09:56:38 PM
Another excellent post from Metro Jacksonville.  The argument in favor of conventionally equipped trains operating on existing track is compelling; more so as highway traffic gets ever more congested.  And despite the negative WSJ article, there is value in rail travel in the sense that the traveler actually enjoys the experience...as opposed to highway and air travel.  I love the rail experience in europe, from the sleek and fast TGV in France, to the narrow gauge mountain railways in Switzerland.

Ocklawaha

January 08, 2011, 11:56:04 PM
Quote
It suggests that the project will not be operationally profitable, despite the fact that nearly every high-speed rail project completed anywhere in the world has achieved as much.


Even some of our "solid sound thinkers," have taken leave of their senses because a "flying train," looks so cool we've just got to build it!  When is the last time you rode a train ANYWHERE just because it looked cool?


"There goes another one..." right off the deep end with another Florida HSR false statement...

NAME THEM.

Tokyo - Osaka
Paris - Lyon

and uh?

To pretend Amtrak makes a buck off the corridor depends on their highly skewed accounting, and that basically gives the NEC a free ride and changes the hell out of long distance, intercity rail. While the reality is the NEC is a loser too, the Long Distance isn't nearly as bad as they have postulated all these years. These Sunshine State reporters claiming how many, and how much, we're going to make off this train because Acela "makes money," are the same clowns that have told us for 35 years, "For every Amtrak ticket sold it cost you and I $30 dollars," but hey, we're going to get MICKEYS MAGIC TRAIN so suddenly it's all profit.

Florida AMTRAK ridership (for the deluded these are generally people that WILL ride trains) has just hit right under the Million passengers a year mark.  We will be lucky to see even that million on the HSR in ANY year, considering it doesn't go anywhere anybody wants to go, takes too long - longer then a car to get there, leaves from God Forsaken nowhere stations, Doesn't connect with the state rail system, costs more then the car, requires a car rental or mass transit at arrival, and tries to serve a tourist market already saturated with ALL INCLUSIVE packages...  Um, what theme park is going to be first in line to chunk their tourist packages so the people can ride this flying train?

PSST... IT AIN'T GONNA FLY WILBUR!

Damn, here I go, from Consultant to El Misericordia of Florida's railroads, in one giant leap...

I remain, at your service,


OCKLAWAHA

yapp1850

January 09, 2011, 05:16:37 AM
most people comming from tampa to orlando  are going for one thing theme parks and orlando is th capital  of the world of theme parks.

yapp1850

January 09, 2011, 05:24:09 AM
i am hoping for orlando stations at theme parks and downtown  at church  st. if you do that way it hits toursist,business areas of orlando, remember florida is a toursist state.

tufsu1

January 13, 2011, 10:14:12 AM
Everything seems to be falling in line....first, Associated Indutries of Florida (business lobbying group) comes out in favor of high speed rail....and now the Senate President has basically done a 180 from his statements the other day.

Quote
SENATE PRES OK WITH RAIL ROLLING, IF BIZ PICKS UP THE TAB

By KEITH LAING
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited.
Contact news@newsserviceflorida.com.

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Jan. 12, 2011..........Despite recent calls for
the new governor to put the brakes on high speed rail, Florida Senate
President Mike Haridopolos said Wednesday the project should roll ahead if
private investors can come up with the remaining $280 million needed to fund
the $2.6 billion system.

Speaking with reporters during a Capitol news conference, Haridopolos said
he would not try to stop the Department of Transportation from seeking
proposals from companies that have expressed interest in building the train,
90 percent of which would be paid for by the federal government. A bullet
train would be nice, Haridopolos conceded, but not on Florida taxpayers'
dime.

"I think high speed rail is something people would like to have,"
Haridopolos said. "I would make the argument, and I have made the argument,
that it's something we cannot afford at this time using state dollars. If
the private sector chooses to make up that last 10 percent, great, that
would be their prerogative."

Federal officials say the project is the most shovel ready in a nationwide
network President Barack Obama envisions will eventually rival the federal
interstate highway system.

To that end, supporters of the train have suggested that companies might be
willing to close the gap on the $2.6 billion the train is estimated to cost
- and assume some of the risk if ridership does not meet expectations - in
exchange for building one of the first high speed rails in the country.

Haridopolos said Wednesday that would be fine with him.

"If the last 10 percent is made up by the private sector, then we'll see
high speed rail being done, but I want to see not only the short term, but
the long term, the operation and maintenance like we have with SunRail put
on the backs of the private sector," he said.

"What business wouldn't die for a 90 percent off (deal)? Talk about a tax
break," he continued. "The last 10 percent can be picked up by the private
sector if they really believe it'll be a commercially viable operation."

Some supporters of the high speed rail project, which would connect Tampa
and Orlando, have criticized Haridopolos for supporting one train and not
another. Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, noted earlier this week that
Haridopolos backed a special session in 2009 to approve legislation that
allowed for the purchase of the tracks for SunRail that organizers
explicitly tied to winning federal money for the bullet train.

Shortly after that session, U.S. transportation officials announced they
were awarding $1.25 billion to Florida for the Tampa-to-Orlando train from
the federal economic stimulus, half of the money the project was expected to
cost. Since then, the feds have put another $1 billion on the table,
bringing Florida's total higher than any other state but California.

Sen. Dockery attributed Haridopolos' earlier opposition to the state making
up the difference to politics, with the Senate president widely believed to
be gearing up for U.S. Senate run in 2012. But Haridopolos said Wednesday
the two trains were apples and oranges.

"(SunRail) is something I chose to support because it is a mixture of
funds," he said. "It's federal, state and local. This is a project that has
been worked on in Central Florida for over 10 years. It is supported by
Republicans and Democrats alike and the local governments and that
particular DOT region chose to use some of their road money for rail because
they thought it would be very important to that region."

Of course, many of the same things could be said of the high speed rail
project, which was put into the state constitution back in 2000 after a
successful political campaign largely funded by Dockery's husband, Lakeland
businessman C.C. Dockery. However, the constitutional amendment mandating
the train was undone four years later with the strong backing of former Gov.
Jeb Bush, who argued the state could not afford it.

Haridopolos said that history was a key difference between the two trains.
Unlike the original high speed proposal, which he opposed, the Sunrail deal
calls for Volusia, Seminole and Orange Counties to assume responsibility for
operations after the tracks for SunRail are purchased, which was projected
in 2009 to cost the state $641 million.

With Gov. Rick Scott not saying much about the train other than that he will
make a decision about accepting the federal money only after a February
review, Haridopolos' recent statements about high speed rail have caused
quite a stir, even among groups that normally vociferously support
Republicans.

Associated Industries of Florida, one of the state's major business lobbies,
announced Wednesday it was forming a high-speed rail coalition, which it
said would include "private-sector companies that want the jobs, the work
and the prestige that will come from being a part of Florida high speed
rail."

"Decisions to abandon the project can always be made further down the road
if the conditions are not ideal," AIF said in a statement.  "Right now, we
have an opportunity to leverage private investment to secure billions in
federal dollars for a project that will have an incredibly positive impact
on our state. Let's not derail high speed rail."

DOT officials told a Senate panel Tuesday that unless someone says
otherwise, requests for proposals on construction projects necessary to
build the high speed train would be released in March. If the proposal is
not stopped in its tracks after they come, contractors would be selected in
2011 and construction would begin in 2012.
Supporters have said the train could begin running in 2015.

-END-
1/12/11

Detailed context on Florida transportation issues is available on the NSF
Transportation Backgrounder at
http://www.newsserviceflorida.com/transportation/transportation.htm.

Ocklawaha

January 13, 2011, 01:22:05 PM
Here you go TU, I designed a station just for you that should just about handle the local business between Orlando and Tampa.


They better hurry up and sell it now, because once it starts running and the real numbers come in, they'll be diving off that damn thing worse then rats on a sinking ship.

I find it very interesting that the industry is charging off the cliff with this, when they admit it is a flawed plan, make a buck or two today at the public trough, and seal the future of HSR, I spell that C A T A S T R O P H I C !


OCKLAWAHA

lobosolo

January 27, 2011, 05:00:06 PM
We need to be clear about the definition of federal a "subsidy" for each mode of travel. A subsidy is not the same thing as "federal funding" altho many transit, rail, and high-speed rail advocates keep trying to twist the language so that it is. If an infrastructure project is funded by payments made by its users, there is no subsidy involved. A subsidy occurs when non-users are compelled to pay for such a project.

The definitive study on this subject is the December 2004 report by the US DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, called "Federal Subsidies to Passenger Transportation" posted on the BTS.gov website. It reviewed about a decade’s worth of federal funding for inter-city rail, air travel, highways, and urban transit. For each mode, it compared federal user-tax revenue with federal spending, with the difference amounting to the subsidy. It then divided the average annual subsidy by the passenger miles traveled using each mode.

The resulting federal subsidy per thousand passenger miles was as follows:
Inter-city passenger rail: $186
Urban transit: $118
Air travel: $ 6
Highways: -$ 2

The highway figure is negative because in a typical year, federal highway user taxes exceeded federal highway spending (because of transfers of some of that revenue to urban transit).

BridgeTroll

January 28, 2011, 07:15:49 AM
Interesting info... Welcome aboard lobo!

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2011, 08:25:12 AM
The definitive study on this subject is the December 2004 report by the US DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, called "Federal Subsidies to Passenger Transportation" posted on the BTS.gov website. It reviewed about a decade’s worth of federal funding for inter-city rail, air travel, highways, and urban transit. For each mode, it compared federal user-tax revenue with federal spending, with the difference amounting to the subsidy. It then divided the average annual subsidy by the passenger miles traveled using each mode.

The resulting federal subsidy per thousand passenger miles was as follows:
Inter-city passenger rail: $186
Urban transit: $118
Air travel: $ 6
Highways: -$ 2

Hello lobo, welcome aboard.

The reasons for this disparity are myriad, but largely stem from the government funding other modes, while using tax revenues (often from the railroads themselves) to create the national interstate highway system (which parallels railroad mainlines throughout the country), the CAB, FAA etc. while not allowing the railroads to adjust their schedules or drop trains until their financial situation was in ruins. During that same period we somehow convinced state and local municipalities that they should build and maintain airports and secondary roads.

The flip side of this is had the government really made an effort to "save the passenger train," they could have set up a loss prevention system and applied it to the private railroads. Amtrak represents a total takeover, and its trains are as different from the private railroads as a Navy ship is from a cruise liner. Those highway and air numbers would also be incredibly high if the government was only supporting a single daily airplane - each way on 15 long distance routes. It would then be impossible to sell enough seats to get close to break even, but that is exactly what some in Congress expect from Amtrak.


OCKLAWAHA

stephendare

January 28, 2011, 08:31:43 AM
lol.  its a disingenuous way to compare the costs, because its basically a popularity contest, and measures volume of people rather than apples to apples comparisons on the subsidies.

FayeforCure

January 28, 2011, 04:16:52 PM
lol.  its a disingenuous way to compare the costs, because its basically a popularity contest, and measures volume of people rather than apples to apples comparisons on the subsidies.

So true, but not only that............as usual Conservatives overlook costing out externalities in their rosy view of car transportation:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/q7t3kn7348r721t6/

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2011, 09:23:31 PM



"The Champion," Just another of many famous trains Amtrak operated then axed. In this scene the Champion is backing into Tampa Union Station from the Neve Wye located in Gary, a neighborhood that is about 2 miles away from the station in Tampa, Florida, during 1977. A conductor or trainman is standing on the rear vestibule to use the warning back up whistle connected to a goose neck hose. It appears the other train service employee is using a radio telephone to provide directions to the engineer.


Passenger Rail April 30, 1971, Last full day of private operation.


Amtrak National and "Florida Service," today.

As FAYE, TUFSU, FSUJAX, MJ and I have been saying all along, our problem is not, "too much Amtrak," the fact is if we had more we could spend LESS! Here's the story on that and several example routes, keep in mind that the entire state of Florida, which had 12 Amtrak trains since 1971, is now down to TWO + plus a non-stop Sanford-Lorton, VA AUTO-TRAIN daily. If Rick Scott and the axe the tax gang REALLY wanted to help AND wipe out stupid spending programs they should look at boosting our Amtrak service about 5x what it currently is.

OCKLAWAHA


Quote
FACT SHEET

 
Frequency is Key to Successful Short-Distance Passenger Train Service

When a traveler considers whether to drive, fly or take a train to a destination, the biggest factors in that decision are generally cost, convenience and travel time. Passenger trains—even those running at “conventional” speeds up to 90 mph—often offer shorter travel times than cars for trips greater than 50 miles. Yet the car is often more convenient, especially if there are a limited number of train departures to choose from. Travelers generally prefer to go at their own pace instead of planning trips around public transportation (including airline) schedules. Therefore, the more frequencies are added to a passenger train route that is both cost- and trip time-competitive with driving, the faster the rate at which train ridership grows.

The histories of contemporary passenger train routes in different parts of the United States have demonstrated this to be the case. Presented here are four Amtrak routes that have witnessed noteworthy ridership gains with the addition of train frequencies.

 
Capitol Corridor – Oakland-San Jose-Sacramento, CA

From 1970 to 1991, there were only two daily intercity trains between these three major central California cities, both of which were long-distance runs that were impractical for local travel. In 1990, however, California voters approved three bond measures, the largest of which was a citizen initiative, providing a mandate and seed money for the establishment of new short-distance trains between the cities. The first Capitol Corridor trains rolled in December 1991, with three daily round-trips.

By 1995, however, ridership was languishing and the state and Amtrak’s budget problems made the corridor a candidate for abandonment. But the communities along the route fought to keep the service going. A 1996 state law allowed any of the cities, counties or transit agencies along any of the three state-sponsored corridors to form a Joint Powers Authority to assume the management of the train service. Only the communities on the Capitol Corridor elected to do so.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), an agency formed by a compact of local transit authorities that took over the line’s operation from the state transportation department in 19971 and selected the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) as the full-time managing agency, a position BART still holds.

463,000 annual riders used the Capitol Corridor in fiscal 1998. Four round-trips were operating by October of that year with a state subsidy of $12 million and a farebox recovery ratio (percent of total costs covered by passenger revenue) of 29.8%. CCJPA successfully lobbied the state legislature to invest in new equipment and track upgrades to meet the strong demand for train service that began to grow once more attractive schedules were offered—despite that no federal match was available at that time similar to that offered for state highway, aviation and urban transit investment.2

Fifth and sixth round-trips were added within the first few months of CCJPA management, resulting in a ridership increase of 17% and increasing the farebox recovery ratio to 31%. The decision in February 2000 to terminate service to Colfax (east of Sacramento) and use the saved costs to fund a seventh Sacramento-Oakland round-trip resulted in a 40% ridership jump while costs stayed flat, giving the service a 40% farebox recovery ratio. Former CCJPA Managing Director Eugene Skoropowski calls this the “magic line” between offering the public a real transportation service versus “just a chance to ride a train.”3

The keys to the Capitol Corridor’s success were political will at the highest levels of state government, an aggressive, customer-focused management team, a strong partnership with host railroad Union Pacific (UP), and consistent capital funding for service expansion. CCJPA’s model cooperation with UP proves that a major freight railroad will respond positively to greater passenger service on its tracks so long as its ability to operate and grow its freight business is protected. This allowed for significant portions of the line to be double-tracked by the mid-2000s.4

The state took delivery of 12 new coaches from 2001 to 2003, making three additional frequencies possible, for a total of twelve. Ridership and revenue growth was then outpacing cost growth, so no additional state subsidy was needed. In 2004, all three Amtrak California corridors reported double-digit ridership growth. Upon completion of state- and locally-funded track construction projects in, three more weekday Oakland-San Jose round-trips were added, along with four more weekday Oakland-Sacramento round-trips, for a total of 32 trains. By fiscal 2008, ridership had grown to 1.67 million, an increase of 530,000 riders over four years.5

From 2001 to 2008, state subsidy remained flat, but a modest increase was needed in 2009 to cover higher Amtrak labor costs. By that point, farebox recovery was a remarkable 55%, and the state cost per passenger mile was half of what it was in 1998.6 All the right ingredients came together to provide a true passenger train success story, consistently ranked by passengers as among the country’s top five in customer service, in the heart of the world’s automobile capital. On-time performance on the Capitol Corridor is 97%, mostly on a busy mainline freight railroad serving a major port.

CCJPA staff is still following a “build-out plan” calling for sixteen San Jose-Oakland, eighteen Oakland-Sacramento, ten Sacramento-Roseville, and four Roseville-Auburn round-trips.

 
Amtrak Virginia – Washington, DC-Charlottesville-Lynchburg, VA

The Norfolk Southern-owned rail line connecting Washington, DC (and, by extension, the entire Northeast Corridor) to Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville and Lynchburg, VA, saw only one daily Amtrak round-trip until October 1, 2009 (plus an additional thrice-weekly round-trip serving all of the above except Lynchburg). Nevertheless, passengers traveling between Lynchburg and Charlottesville and Northeast Corridor points accounted for some of the best-patronized city pairs on that one train, the New York-New Orleans Crescent, in fiscal 2009, with almost 20% of the route’s riders traveling between 300 and 400 miles out of a route total of 1,377.7 Washington-Charlottesville also represented the 4th-busiest city pair, and New York-Charlottesville the 8th-busiest city pair, on the tri-weekly New York-Chicago Cardinal in fiscal 2009.8

Thanks to funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia, resulting from significant grassroots support along the route, Amtrak extended a daily Northeast Regional round-trip, which had been Boston-Washington, south to Lynchburg starting on October 1, 2009. The new train provided a schedule only two hours apart from that of the Crescent, but greatly exceeded Amtrak’s ridership projections in just the first six months of its operation, thanks in part to the Crescent’s limited capacity,9 especially for shorter-haul travelers. A little over 9,000 passengers use this train within Virginia each month, in addition to those still using the Crescent and Cardinal. Passenger revenues have been so strong that the Commonwealth has not had to provide any operating support to Amtrak for the Washington-Lynchburg portion of the run.10

 
Hiawatha Service – Chicago, IL-Milwaukee, WI

This route, which has been connecting Chicago to Milwaukee with three intermediate stops continuously since before Amtrak began operations in 1971, is the seventh busiest in the Amtrak system, with a per-mile ridership exceeded only by the Northeast Corridor and California’s Capitol Corridor.11 While originally funded entirely by Amtrak, the states of Illinois and Wisconsin now contribute operating support for the Hiawathas. In 1971, the corridor was served by four daily round-trips, a number that quickly increased to seven, but was cut back to three or four during the 1980s, until the states pitched in to support two more frequencies starting in 1989.12 Today, six round-trips operate daily (five on Sundays), excluding the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder, which does not take local Chicago-Milwaukee passengers.13

451,100 passengers rode Hiawatha trains in 2004, a number that grew 73.6% to 783,060 in fiscal 2010.14 State operating support for the route helps to keep fares low enough to attract substantial ridership.15 People who regularly travel between Milwaukee and Chicago have enjoyed a relatively high level of train service for so many years that it has helped to engender a train-riding culture. The 2005 addition of a stop at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport16 is drawing Chicago-area residents looking for cheaper flights and better flight schedules than those available from O’Hare and Midway, as well as suburban Milwaukee residents who find the airport station more convenient than the center-city station.

 
Downeaster Service – Boston, MA-Portland, ME

The state of Maine was without a passenger train connection to Boston—and thus the rest of the national network—from 1964, when the Boston and Maine Railroad ended intercity service north of Dover, NH,17 to December 2001. State investment in Amtrak-operated service between Portland and Boston’s North Station on the former B&M line now mostly owned by Pan Am Railways was the direct result of years of organizing by TrainRiders/Northeast, which led to the Maine legislature passing the first citizen-initiated bill in its history. The bill directed the state to use all means necessary to create Boston-Portland passenger rail service and to spend no less than $40 million to do so.18 Downeaster service began in 2001 with four round-trips, with a fifth being added in 2007.19

245,135 passengers used Downeaster trains in fiscal 2002. Ridership grew to 361,634 by fiscal 2007 (almost a 50% increase), then rose an additional 31.2% into 2008 with the addition of the fifth frequency. 4,000 more took Downeaster in 2010 than in 2008.20  The Downeaster enjoys tremendous public support and buy-in, and work is being done in preparation for extending service further east to Brunswick, ME. Trackwork over time has shaved 20 minutes off the travel time between the two endpoints.21

 
Piedmont Service – Raleigh-Greensboro-Charlotte, NC

When Amtrak began operations in 1971, there was no passenger train service connecting North Carolina’s three largest cities. Raleigh was served by one daily New York-Miami Amtrak roundtrip, and Greensboro and Charlotte were served by one daily New York-New Orleans round-trip, operated by Southern Railway until Amtrak took over in 1979.22 Both trains served North Carolina at inconvenient hours.  With operating support from the states of North Carolina and Virginia, Amtrak’s Carolinian began daily Charlotte-Raleigh-Richmond-New York service for a one-year trial in 1984, reinstating it “for good” in 1990.

Seeing the significant patronage of the Carolinian by intra-state passengers, the visionary Rail Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) bought and restored pre-Amtrak coaches, café cars, and coach-baggage cars, purchased new locomotives, and began operating a stand-alone Raleigh-Greensboro-Charlotte train, the Piedmont, in 1995. The Piedmont operated a reverse schedule to the Carolinian, providing a morning and evening train in each direction to all cities on the route.23

Almost 48,000 passengers rode the Piedmont in fiscal 1998. Patronage grew 43% to over 68,000 by fiscal 2009. In May 2010, the NCDOT Rail Division inaugurated a third mid-day Piedmont round-trip using more restored vintage equipment. This caused fiscal 2010 Piedmont ridership (not including the Carolinian) to jump to almost 100,000 (a 46% increase in one year)!24 NCDOT plans to add a fourth frequency to the corridor within the next two years as demand continues to outpace the supply of seats.

 

Sources

   1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_Corridor
   2. Federal matching funds for state intercity passenger rail infrastructure investment had never been offered in U.S. history until the passage of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. Any previous federal funding for passenger trains had come through Amtrak.
   3. Email interview with Eugene Skoropowski.
   4. NARP News, May 2000
   5. http://www.narprail.org/cms/factsheets/trains_all.pdf, page 30.
   6. Email interview with Eugene Skoropowski.
   7. http://www.narprail.org/cms/factsheets/trains_all.pdf, page 36. Among 8 top city pairs by ridership, New York-Charlottesville is number 5, Washington-Charlottesville is number 6, Washington-Lynchburg is number 7, and New York-Lynchburg is number 8.
   8. http://www.narprail.org/cms/factsheets/trains_all.pdf, page 12.
   9. A typical Crescent consists of two sleepers and four or five coaches, and a diner and café, all of which operate New York-New Orleans. The type of coach used on the Crescent (Amfleet II) seats only up to 60 passengers, whereas a Northeast Regional coach (Amfleet I) seats up to 84.
  10. http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index.php/2010/05/20/choo-ching-new-amtrak-service-smashes-ridership-goal/, confirmed by an Amtrak representative.
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak_Hiawatha
  12. http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sponholz/tt2.html
  13. Amtrak System Timetable, Fall 2010-Winter 2011.
  14. http://www.narprail.org/cms/factsheets/trains_all.pdf, page 15, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak_Hiawatha
  15. As of October 2010, the base one-way unreserved coach fare between Milwaukee and Chicago was $21.00. This compares to a base Baltimore-Philadelphia reserved coach fare (a comparable distance and travel time) of $32.00.
  16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Airport_Railroad_Station
  17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_and_Maine_Railroad
  18. http://trainridersne.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=53
  19. http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070731/NEWS/707310341/-1/NEWS11&sfad=1
  20. Ridership statistics furnished by Amtrak; source document available upon request.
  21. Comparison of Amtrak’s January 2002 (http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=20020128ne&item=0034) and October 2010 System Timetables
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_(train) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piedmont_(train)
  23. Ridership statistics furnished by Amtrak; source document available upon request

Copyright January 2011 National Association of Railroad Passengers, Inc.

yapp1850

February 06, 2011, 02:28:34 AM
if state picks usf poly as the high speed station and  sunrail to the usf station, then to downtown lakeland and onto tampa union staion, poly will be a goood tranfer center, but in tampa they will have to have some type of light rail connection from union staion and high speed station it will be a lot better than the brt bus.

Garden guy

February 06, 2011, 09:23:35 AM
If we all followed the conservative way of running this world we'd still be living in caves and konking women over the head with clubs...come on conservatives...grow up and come on into at least the 20th century..

Ocklawaha

February 06, 2011, 09:45:07 AM
If we all followed the conservative way of running this world we'd still be living in caves and konking women over the head with clubs...come on conservatives...grow up and come on into at least the 20th century..

What would you have us do Garden Guy? You are so wrapped up in the thread title which was a response to Fayes, blind devotion to the current Florida plan that you can't see the forest for the trees?

Here is the points you've missed.

1. IF THE CURRENT PLAN GOES FORWARD, MARK MY WORDS, IT WILL FAIL AND FAIL MISERABLY, AND DAMAGE
    OR KILL HSR IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY FOR DECADES. (If you were with us before, you'd see that 30 years
    ago I was the only one saying the same thing about the Skyway plan.)

2. Florida has allowed its passenger rail to vanish, when other states have built it up using Amtrak. You will
    not suddenly train up a state full of enthusiastic riders, who's hands are forever frozen in a steering
    grip by overspending on a Disney ride.

3.  In this case "the conservative way," is to FIRST build a network like Amtrak California, or North Carolina,
    then when you can point to packed trains, move to add to the program, increase speeds, and expand.

4.  The above examples show fantastic acceptance of standard Amtrak trains, which under the new signaling
     mandates will be allowed to approach 120 mph, without spending billions on a novelty train.

5.  NOBODY lives along the entire I-4 corridor from Orlando to Lakeland, they live along the CSX corridor
     between the same two cities. Even if the Florida plan were somehow successful, the claim that it will
     prevent sprawl is disingenuous and FDOT knows it... Every town along the CSX corridor will by necessity
     have to "move," toward the tracks on I-4, which is a sprawl swath 4-9 miles wide and 60+ miles long.

Yeah, the conservative way is the only way if we want this to work, hey and there is nothing really "conservative," about a 120 mph TALGO train along the CSX alignment. (note I didn't say the CSX track, at least not much of it.)


OCKLAWAHA

http://www.bytrain.org/passenger/

http://amtrakcalifornia.com/index.cfm/routes/

yapp1850

February 06, 2011, 01:35:25 PM
i really hope talgo bid team do something about move it to csx line instead of i-4, the team is the cheepest and lest state money the better is going to win the contract

yapp1850

February 06, 2011, 01:49:09 PM
hey ock what if the high speed rail stay on  i-4 as plan coming from tampa when it gets to csx rail bridge on i-4 then go csx track to get downtown lakeland,kissimme,orlando if you do this way transit center within walking dist. on tampa and orlando side. then exspand sunrail to tampa union station and light rail frome union station to high speed station

Ocklawaha

February 06, 2011, 01:55:36 PM
hey ock what if the high speed rail stay on  i-4 as plan coming from tampa when it gets to csx rail bridge on i-4 then go csx track to get downtown lakeland,kissimme,orlando if you do this way transit center within walking dist. on tampa and orlando side. then exspand sunrail to tampa union station and light rail frome union station to high speed station

That would be light years ahead of what they plan to do now. For me watching this unfold is like watching a immolation suicide performed with a single candle.

OCKLAWAHA

yapp1850

February 06, 2011, 03:53:40 PM
if state this way ridership will be way up not like  north lakeland, disney,occ, airport all this high speed rail is a touris train what about avg. working florida person.

yapp1850

February 10, 2011, 04:27:35 PM
tampa tea party  as tampa 912  had a 30 min. meeting with rick scott today they are not happy because the high speed rail has not been cancel and budget cuts need to be lot deeper than what he propose.  there plan is  all local transit should be bus only no trains and hov lanes  and  on intercity travel we have redcoach not high speed rail or increase amtrak on csx/fec.

tufsu1

February 10, 2011, 04:57:06 PM
FDOT rail staff were in Orlando yesterday at a workshop on the RFP/RFQ process....the new ridership study is expected next week....with it and the contract assurances that private sector cover cost overruns and losses, Gov. Scott will have the cover he needs to proceed with the procurement process.

tufsu1

February 11, 2011, 02:39:58 PM
well it appears the Governor is good with SunRail...HSR is next up!

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-sunrail-budget-approve-20110211,0,2689338.story

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 09:14:14 AM
Outstanding!  Baby steps!

Wish we could get something moving as quickly here for JaxRail as they have in the 407 for SunRail.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 09:57:40 AM
sadly here is the latest!


News Service of Florida Breaking News Alert

Gov. Rick Scott is rejecting the federal money for high speed rail
between Tampa and Orlando. Scott said the state eventually likely
would be on the hook for keeping the train running.  "I believe the
risk far outweighs the benefits," Scott said in a hastily called news
conference.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 09:58:31 AM
News Service of Florida Breaking News Alert

Gov. Rick Scott is rejecting the federal money for high speed rail
between Tampa and Orlando. Scott said the state eventually likely
would be on the hook for keeping the train running.  "I believe the
risk far outweighs the benefits," Scott said in a hastily called news
conference.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 10:03:40 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                CONTACT:  Amy Graham
FEBRUARY 16, 2011                                                                                                                    850-488-5394
 
Florida Governor Rick Scott Rejects Federal High Speed Rail
 
Tallahassee, Fla. – After thoughtful consideration, Governor Rick Scott informed U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood of the state’s decision to reject President Obama’s Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project.
 
Below are Governor Scott’s Remarks as Prepared:
 
•         As you know, I was elected to get Floridians back to work and to change the way government does business in our state.
 
•         I am committed to making good on those promises. 
 
•         Recently, I sent a budget proposal to the legislature that reduces the size and scope of government; reduces the costs of that government and passes those cost savings on to taxpayers so that we can create new jobs and turn Florida’s economy around.
 
•         I believe when you reduce government’s reach and hold that government accountable, you create an environment where the economy can flourish.
 
•         When you reduce taxes and put that money back in the hands of hardworking Floridians and Florida businesses, that money will be spent on creating private sector jobs
 
•         As you know, my background is in business, not politics.  But you don’t have to be an economics expert to understand that if you spend more money than you take in, your business will fail.
 
•         Unfortunately, politicians haven’t always seemed to grasp that same principle.
 
•         In fact, the Obama administration just announced a $3.73 trillion budget that includes the largest budget deficit in our nation’s history ($1.65 trillion).
 
•         The president’s budget includes $1.6 trillion in higher taxes.
 
•         Those higher taxes will impact Floridians and our competitiveness worldwide.  We cannot expect individuals to build businesses in America if our taxes are higher than other countries.
 
•         Higher taxes and more government spending is a recipe for disaster.  Government has become addicted to spending beyond its means and we cannot continue this flawed policy.
 
•         Let us never forget, whether it is Washington or Tallahassee, government has no resources of its own.  Government can only give to us what it has previously taken from us.
 
•         That is why today I am announcing my decision to reject the Obama administration’s plan to partially-fund the costly Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project.
 
•         Moments ago I spoke with u.s. transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to inform him of my decision.   I appreciate the secretary’s efforts to work with us and I look forward to working with him in the future.
 
•         My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:
 
o   First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.
 
o   Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million - $575 million over 10 years) – Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.
 
o   Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.
 
•         The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits.
 
•         Historical data shows capital cost overruns are pervasive in 9 out of 10 high speed rail projects and that 2/3 of those projects inflated ridership projections by an average of 65 percent of actual patronage.
 
•         It is projected that 3.07 million people will use the train annually.  Keep in mind that Amtrak’s Acela train in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore only had 3.2 million riders in 2010.  And that market’s population is 8 times the size of the Tampa/Orlando market.
 
•         President Obama’s high-speed rail program is not the answer to Florida’s economic recovery.
 
•         We must make investments in areas where we will get a return for the shareholders – Florida’s taxpayers.
 
•         Rather than investing in a high-risk rail project, we should be focusing on improving our ports, rail and highway infrastructure to be in a position to attract the increased shipping that will result when the panama canal is expanded when the free trade agreements with Colombia and panama are ratified and with the expansion of the economies of central and south America.
 
•         By capturing a larger share of containerized imports entering our seaports, expanding export markets for Florida businesses and emerging as a global hub for trade and investment we can create up to an additional 143,000 jobs according to a recent chamber of commerce study.
 
•         It is absolutely critical that we make smart investments with taxpayer dollars, whether state or federal, and I believe our state will be better served by spending these funds on projects that will benefit Florida and not turn into a spending boondoggle.
 
•         The answer is to reduce government spending, cut government’s leash on our state’s job creators and then hold that government accountable for the investments it makes.
 
•         That is what I was elected to do and that is how I plan to govern. Let’s get to work!

fsujax

February 16, 2011, 10:06:27 AM
Dang it, you beat me to it! i am little worried that he spcifically mentioned Tri-Rail and the subsidy it recieves.

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 10:07:51 AM
So does this mean SunRail is yet again in doubt?

The state's already 'on the hook' for all the freaking roads and highways that need to be maintained.  I love how those are always ignored.

fsujax

February 16, 2011, 10:12:09 AM
I dont think so. One more thing, you heard it on Metrojacksonville first!

Garden guy

February 16, 2011, 10:13:16 AM
This is no suprise from this thief and liar...and for his party as well...he and his party have historically not supported the advancement of it's people. .they only care about the wealthy and connected...i can't wait to vote against him.

Jumpinjack

February 16, 2011, 10:14:29 AM
I see that one of the reasons for the turn down is that it is "Obama's high speed rail program". How much does that add to the cost overrun estimates?

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 10:15:58 AM
Is he a liar? 

I think he's always been against High Speed Rail.  Not saying I agree with him, but on this one I don't think he's 'lying,' just 'an idiot.'

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 10:21:24 AM
Let's Get To Work...first thing we'll do is eliminate jobs!

fsujax

February 16, 2011, 10:23:19 AM
the other thing to remember is Jacksonville is still connected to the SEHSR network and is participating in the feasibility study that is ongoing linking Jacksonville to Atlanta.

JeffreyS

February 16, 2011, 10:25:29 AM
Why does he keep referencing Obama? If he does not like the that is one but whether or not it is Obama's plan shouldn't matter.  Oh well we are more in line with the SEHSR anyway.

Jumpinjack

February 16, 2011, 10:28:45 AM
Let's Get To Work...first thing we'll do is eliminate jobs!

No, we are making more highway construction jobs available.

dougskiles

February 16, 2011, 10:50:43 AM
the other thing to remember is Jacksonville is still connected to the SEHSR network and is participating in the feasibility study that is ongoing linking Jacksonville to Atlanta.

What is happening in Georgia with HSR and the state government?  Any threats of rejecting federal assistance?

fsujax

February 16, 2011, 10:52:38 AM
Mica's Response

Mica response


Transportation chief Mica: "Deeply disappointed" with Scott rejection of high speed rail

House Transportation chair John Mica on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to turn down high speed rail dollars: "I am deeply disappointed in the decision to not move forward with the Orlando to Tampa passenger rail project.

"This is a huge setback for the state of Florida, our transportation, economic development, and important tourism industry.

"I have urged the Governor to reconsider going forward and allow the private sector to assume the risk and any future costs for the project. I made this appeal to the Governor this morning. With the federal government assuming 90% of the cost of the project, I am disappointed the private sector will not have an opportunity to even offer innovative proposals to help finance the balance of the costs and to construct and operate this system.

"I will continue to work with the Governor and all those interested in developing cost-effective 21st century transportation alternatives for Florida and the nation, with systems that can improve quality of life and help meet our future transportation needs."

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 10:53:37 AM
Let's Get To Work...first thing we'll do is eliminate jobs!

No, we are making more highway construction jobs available.

I doubt it...I'm thinking he doesn't want to spend any $

yapp1850

February 16, 2011, 10:54:08 AM
now the money is gone, do you think the state will state a new real  rail plan that is on csx/fec tracks  so the train goes from city center to city center.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 10:56:10 AM
CSX is not at all interested in sharing/selling their tracks from Tampa to Lakeland for passenger rail

dougskiles

February 16, 2011, 10:57:53 AM
What would be better?

Federal funding for HSR between Tampa and Orlando

or

Commuter rail in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, South Florida - with restored passenger rail service along the east coast?

I vote for the latter.

jcjohnpaint

February 16, 2011, 11:00:03 AM
This governor is in no way a liar.  He clearly spelled out how he was going to systematically destroy this state to give the hard working Floridians tax breaks   what ever the %^&$%# that means.  I think it was pretty clear what he was going to do in his goal to privatize everything.  I did not vote for him and never will....so I did what I could and I will do it again.  

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 11:05:44 AM
What would be better?

Federal funding for HSR between Tampa and Orlando

or

Commuter rail in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, South Florida - with restored passenger rail service along the east coast?

I vote for the latter.

agreed...but the Feds aren't offering $2+ Billion for that...and even if they were, this Governor wouldn't take it!

yapp1850

February 16, 2011, 11:14:45 AM
csx have said the only way for passenger rail on there tracks from tampa to auburndale is if the goverment upgrade tracks like a secord set of track and siding.

Shwaz

February 16, 2011, 11:16:05 AM
Honestly the project was just a much bigger version of the skyway... meaning it seems doomed from the start... connecting nothing to nowhere. I believe the governor is right in that the ridership estimate was waaaay off... and when this corridor eventually failed it would kill off all other rail plans for FL.

I don't agree with Governor on his stance that if the tax payers have to subsidize $1 dollar that's cause to scrap the plan... obviously we've covered the operational costs of the 'freeway' system ad nauseum... but even if his short sightedness kills the program... I believe it will only benefit future rail plans for all of the state.

cephus

February 16, 2011, 11:51:39 AM
I'm with Doug Skiles and Schwaz on this one

Ocklawaha

February 16, 2011, 12:12:53 PM
...PSST... IT AIN'T GONNA FLY WILBUR!

Damn, here I go, from Consultant to El Misericordia of Florida's railroads, in one giant leap...

I remain, at your service,


OCKLAWAHA

CSX would be more then happy with a second or third track from Jax - Orlando - Lakeland - Tampa. They'd be celebrating and hanging banners from their windows.

They'll tell you their not interested, but a little sugar will get us all the attention we'll need.

Thank God this thing is dead on I-4, stupid idea in the first place. Perhaps the next governor will look at what North Carolina, California, Maine, Illinois and the Pacific Northwest have done with AMTRAK and turn this lemon into something more drinkable.


OCKLAWAHA

FayeforCure

February 16, 2011, 12:37:04 PM
See the sick Regressives at work, killing off much needed jobs! The Tampa-Orlando HSR line was projected to create 23,000 job-years of direct construction jobs and more than 48,000 job-years of work through both direct and spin-off employment during the four-year construction period. 90% of the investment funding was federal funding, and private companies were into providing the other 10%, making it essentially a freebee to the state of Florida!!

http://www.clickorlando.com/travelgetaways/26885383/detail.html?treets=orlpn&tml=orlpn_break&ts=T&tmi=orlpn_break_1_09090102162011

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 12:45:51 PM
stop thinking of this as just Tampa to Orlando...think of it as the first leg of a system that connecs to Miami, Jacksonville, and the rest of the country.

the same things (road to nowehere, connects nothing) were said about the interstate system in the 1950s....not too many say that now.

I agree completely that we could provide just as good (perhaps better) service by expanding existing Amtrak routes....but no one in DC or Tallahassee seems interested in funding that either!

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 12:47:43 PM
people need to keep track of the jobs lost (both public and private) during Scott's time in office....then subtract them from the 700,000 jobs he plans to create...right now he's running a deficit!

FayeforCure

February 16, 2011, 12:55:33 PM
This is no suprise from this thief and liar...and for his party as well...he and his party have historically not supported the advancement of it's people. .they only care about the wealthy and connected...i can't wait to vote against him.

Killing 71,000 jobs during the devastating economy we face in Florida is grounds for a recall in my book.

Quote
The Tampa-Orlando HSR line was projected to create 23,000 job-years of direct construction jobs and more than 48,000 job-years of work through both direct and spin-off employment during the four-year construction period. 90% of the investment funding was federal funding, and private companies were into providing the other 10%, making it essentially a freebee to the state of Florida.

Regressive ideology will always trump economic sense. Like that BS trickle down nonsense to keep cutting taxes for the ultra rich.

How The Middle Class Became The Underclass

Quote
In 1988, the income of an average American taxpayer was $33,400, adjusted for inflation. Fast forward 20 years, and not much had changed: The average income was still just $33,000 in 2008, according to IRS data.

Meanwhile, the richest 1% of Americans -- those making $380,000 or more -- have seen their incomes grow 33% over the last 20 years, leaving average Americans in the dust.



http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/16/news/economy/middle_class/

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 12:56:01 PM
believe what you want....but I have been told now by several people that are in direct talks with CSX that there is virtually no chance for commuter rail between Tampa and Lakeland...at the same time, CSX is very open to talking about their tracks north and west of Tampa.

dougskiles

February 16, 2011, 01:19:56 PM
stop thinking of this as just Tampa to Orlando...think of it as the first leg of a system that connecs to Miami, Jacksonville, and the rest of the country.

the same things (road to nowehere, connects nothing) were said about the interstate system in the 1950s....not too many say that now.

I agree completely that we could provide just as good (perhaps better) service by expanding existing Amtrak routes....but no one in DC or Tallahassee seems interested in funding that either!

I actually am thinking of the entire state, and that is why I believe expanding and improving what we have is smarter than building a very expensive segment of HSR with the hope that someday we will get enough money to connect the other dots.

peestandingup

February 16, 2011, 01:25:34 PM
Ugh, well that's that I guess. Florida residents are hereby doomed to decades of servitude to our Lord, the great automobile.

Thanks a lot, you stupid douche bag. I'm outta here.

Ocklawaha

February 16, 2011, 01:26:21 PM
stop thinking of this as just Tampa to Orlando...think of it as the first leg of a system that connecs to Miami, Jacksonville, and the rest of the country.

...And if the ridership on the Tampa-Orlando portion did not meet expectations, certain groups and political ideology's would shoot down any further expansion beyond Orlando, and quote the "AMERICAN HIGH SPEED RAIL DISASTER," verse by verse forever. Hell I wake up at night after dreaming of reading a paper with the headlines, "HSR DISASTER IN FLORIDA - MIAMI EXTENSION STOPPED AT KENANSVILLE."  Scary stuff when I agree that Scott did the right thing. Though I agree with FSUJAX that the Miami Tri-Rail quip is worrisome.

Quote
the same things (road to nowehere, connects nothing) were said about the interstate system in the 1950s....not too many say that now.

The government used those interstate highways to destroy the fabric and financial strength of our railroad system. The parallel super-slabs paid for in part by railroad tax dollars, guaranteed the death of the intercity passenger train which was already weakened by the post war slump and rising airline services. Interstates represent a huge subsidy for trucking and intercity bus operations. Anyone that thinks all interstate's are roads to somewhere, and connect something, has never been on I-27 between Amarillo and Lubbock.

Quote
I agree completely that we could provide just as good (perhaps better) service by expanding existing Amtrak routes....but no one in DC or Tallahassee seems interested in funding that either!

Not even the President has proposed any improvement in Amtrak intercity passenger trains, in fact Amtrak got a 1% increase in budget. Amtrak,received $1.5 billion in fiscal 2010 capital and debt-service grants and operating subsidies, would have to compete for money from a “system preservation and renewal” fund Obama would create in the six-year surface plan. Under a different administration this idea could torpedo the whole system, it appears to put Amtrak a great risk... AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.

The president is guilty of the same error in planning that Florida has made. Jumping from no rail passenger service to dozens of frequent bullet trains overnight, is a recipe for disaster. America needs to be re-TRAINed, and faster, more frequent, Amtrak trains, over a newer expanding route structure would be the perfect tool to use.


OCKLAWAHA

fsujax

February 16, 2011, 01:30:21 PM
Ock, I agree. We could have gotten so much more by focusing on Amtrak, improving intercity service while connecting the entire state!

BridgeTroll

February 16, 2011, 01:30:43 PM
Quote
Killing 71,000 jobs during the devastating economy we face in Florida is grounds for a recall in my book.


Go for it Faye!  After all... it is lack of democrat turnout that got him elected in the first place.  It is only common courtesy that the democrats clean up their mess... ::) :D

FayeforCure

February 16, 2011, 01:31:02 PM
stop thinking of this as just Tampa to Orlando...think of it as the first leg of a system that connecs to Miami, Jacksonville, and the rest of the country.

the same things (road to nowehere, connects nothing) were said about the interstate system in the 1950s....not too many say that now.

I agree completely that we could provide just as good (perhaps better) service by expanding existing Amtrak routes....but no one in DC or Tallahassee seems interested in funding that either!

I actually am thinking of the entire state, and that is why I believe expanding and improving what we have is smarter than building a very expensive segment of HSR with the hope that someday we will get enough money to connect the other dots.

After WWII, Germany leaped ahead of the US because rather than "expanding and improving what we have" they HAD to rebuild from scratch, because "what they had" was thoroughlt destroyed by repeated bombardments!!

Come on people, lets learn from history!!

BTW here is more info helpful in recalling Rick Scott:

Quote
Florida currently allows for the recall of local elected officials, but there is no provision in state law to allow for the recall of state officials. House Joint Resolution 785 and House Bill 787, both sponsored by Representative Kriseman, would allow the public to recall from office Florida legislators, members of the Florida Cabinet, governor and lieutenant governor.

FayeforCure

February 16, 2011, 01:35:54 PM
Quote
Killing 71,000 jobs during the devastating economy we face in Florida is grounds for a recall in my book.


Go for it Faye!  After all... it is lack of democrat turnout that got him elected in the first place.  It is only common courtesy that the democrats clean up their mess... ::) :D

So true! Besides improving Democratic turnout in the future, lets also call on the Republicans to reign in their fanatical teabagger turnout. :o

BridgeTroll

February 16, 2011, 01:39:28 PM
Quote
Killing 71,000 jobs during the devastating economy we face in Florida is grounds for a recall in my book.


Go for it Faye!  After all... it is lack of democrat turnout that got him elected in the first place.  It is only common courtesy that the democrats clean up their mess... ::) :D

So true! Besides improving Democratic turnout in the future, lets also call on the Republicans to reign in their fanatical teabagger turnout. :o

Certainly you are not encouraging people to not vote.  Seems kind of undemocratic somehow.  Besides... plenty republicans did cross the aisle in the past election only to get their collective foot stepped on by lack of dem turnout.  We simply cannot fight all your battles Faye...

Clem1029

February 16, 2011, 01:42:48 PM
So true! Besides improving Democratic turnout in the future, lets also call on the Republicans to reign in their fanatical teabagger turnout. :o
Wow...once again, Faye demonstrates what the left is really all about - only those that rightthink should be allowed to vote. And not only that, but those that disagree should have brutal slurs thrown against them.

Unreal Faye...you went way beyond the line here.

Ocklawaha

February 16, 2011, 01:49:33 PM
NOTE: THREE THREADS ON HIGH SPEED RAIL HAVE BEEN MERGED INTO THIS THREAD.

OCKLAWAHA

BridgeTroll

February 16, 2011, 01:57:59 PM
You are far more efficient than I Ock! :)

Shwaz

February 16, 2011, 02:00:19 PM
stop thinking of this as just Tampa to Orlando...think of it as the first leg of a system that connecs to Miami, Jacksonville, and the rest of the country.

the same things (road to nowehere, connects nothing) were said about the interstate system in the 1950s....not too many say that now.

I agree completely that we could provide just as good (perhaps better) service by expanding existing Amtrak routes....but no one in DC or Tallahassee seems interested in funding that either!

Just like the skyway... we've all seen the original plans and know the outcome. What makes this so different?

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 02:01:03 PM
Jaxport fixing the Miracle Mile now costs 50 million instead of 3 million and will take several years. 500 million to dredge to 50 feet. 700 million to dredge in Tampa to make them Post-Panamax ready, 150 million in Miami for the same.

Look around the state and see the jobs that the ports create, and then the temporary jobs that a bullet train would have created. If you can't see the difference in these jobs, then by all means lobby for the bullet trains.


There is only so much money in the pot and Scott has done the right thing to turn it down, when the state has more pressing ways to generate jobs, good long term jobs.

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 02:01:18 PM
Certainly you are not encouraging people to not vote.  Seems kind of undemocratic somehow.  Besides... plenty republicans did cross the aisle in the past election only to get their collective foot stepped on by lack of dem turnout.  We simply cannot fight all your battles Faye...

Like me.

Also - did Scott kill 71,000 jobs, as in, there were 71,000 people who were employed and now are not?  Or were none of them hired yet and had started work?  So, while 71,000 haven't been created, none have been lost.  Right?

BTW - before someone goes painting me as defending him, you need to read my other posts on the matter ;)

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 02:09:18 PM
http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/16/news/economy/middle_class/
Faye, I refuse to put any weight into an article that states the following:
Quote
In 2000, President Bush also weakened the government's oversight of complex securities, allowing financial innovations to take off, creating unprecedented amounts of wealth both for the overall economy, and for those directly involved in the financial sector.

Poor writing and poor editing.  Dubya wasn't even in office in 2000.  Clinton was.  Oops.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 02:15:43 PM
Ugh, well that's that I guess. Florida residents are hereby doomed to decades of servitude to our Lord, the great automobile.

Thanks a lot, you stupid douche bag. I'm outta here.

actually I'm thinking servitude to Lord Voldemort

Doctor_K

February 16, 2011, 02:17:23 PM
Ugh, well that's that I guess. Florida residents are hereby doomed to decades of servitude to our Lord, the great automobile.

Thanks a lot, you stupid douche bag. I'm outta here.

actually I'm thinking servitude to Lord Voldemort

Can we please start referring to Rick Scott as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?" :D

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 02:18:59 PM
Jaxport fixing the Miracle Mile now costs 50 million instead of 3 million and will take several years. 500 million to dredge to 50 feet. 700 million to dredge in Tampa to make them Post-Panamax ready, 150 million in Miami for the same.

Look around the state and see the jobs that the ports create, and then the temporary jobs that a bullet train would have created. If you can't see the difference in these jobs, then by all means lobby for the bullet trains.

There is only so much money in the pot and Scott has done the right thing to turn it down, when the state has more pressing ways to generate jobs, good long term jobs.

If it was state money, fine...I agree that the higher priority is to the ports

But it isn't...this is/was Federal money...and as shown just this week in the President's budget, there isn't much federal funding on the way for port dredging projects (be it Miami, Jax, or Savannah).

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 02:27:01 PM
Here's how folks in Tampa are reacting

http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1151975.ece

btw, Republican members of the Legislature aren't much happier....Sen. Latvala and Dockery have been scathing in their comments...and Sen. J.D. Alexander has stated that that the Governore doesn't have the authority to do this.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/article1151937.ece

Shwaz

February 16, 2011, 02:37:10 PM
In all of the "reactions' included in this article... not a single one refutes his reasoning to cancel the project.  ???

wsansewjs

February 16, 2011, 03:04:39 PM
LMFAO! Someone is already editing on Wikipedia...

"Florida High Speed Rail WAS a planned high-speed rail network in the U.S. state of Florida. Initial service would have run between the cities of Tampa and Orlando, with plans to then extend service to South Florida, terminating in Miami."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_high_speed_rail

-Josh

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 03:33:21 PM
Quote
But it isn't...this is/was Federal money...and as shown just this week in the President's budget, there isn't much federal funding on the way for port dredging projects (be it Miami, Jax, or Savannah).

So where is the private money? Scott is right, if a private company is not willing to spend 208 million on this, why shoud the state risk overruns, and possibly be on the hook for the 2 billion if it goes sadly wrong. That 2 billion could dredge a lot of ports.

Panama Canal is expanding and Post-Panamax is a reality. High Speed rail is not a reality. The President needs to wake-up that more jobs can be created with dredging than with rail.

Ocklawaha

February 16, 2011, 03:35:59 PM
Here's how folks in Tampa are reacting

http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1151975.ece

btw, Republican members of the Legislature aren't much happier....Sen. Latvala and Dockery have been scathing in their comments...and Sen. J.D. Alexander has stated that that the Governore doesn't have the authority to do this.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/article1151937.ece

...And the whole room full of the above mentioned persons know as much about rail transportation as our local politico's do. NADA!

This entire project was a hard sell by Disney officials to convince the State of Florida that a high speed train between Orlando and Tampa, via their parks, was needed more then a train that served the towns along that corridor.

Every bit of the reaction seems limited to "FREE MONEY", "FREE MONEY", "FREE MONEY", and not to the merit of the project, or in this case, the lack thereof.

I'll withhold my support until the "HARTSFIELD ATLANTA-PANAMA CITY FLORIDA"  bullet train is announced, at least that one would carry an occasional bikini clad beauty, which is worth about 1,000x all the rat dung in Disney. When mtraininjax and I agree on anything to do with railroads it's a stellar event.


OCKLAWAHA

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 03:38:06 PM
Ock - Agreed!

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 03:48:58 PM
So where is the private money? Scott is right, if a private company is not willing to spend 208 million on this, why shoud the state risk overruns, and possibly be on the hook for the 2 billion if it goes sadly wrong. That 2 billion could dredge a lot of ports.

that's the issue...the private companies need something to react to....which is why FDOT was going to release an RFP/RFQ shortly.

at least 8 consortiums have expressed interest in funding the remaining $280 million plus any cost overruns...they also understand that FDOT wants assurances that the private entities cover any losses through 2035.

as with the outer beltway, those companies would then have done their own internal ridership/revenue studies...and if the numbers didn't work out, they wouldn't submit...had the state received no qualified bids, then scrap the project.

 

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 03:49:38 PM
more reaction

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/senators-call-scotts-decision-short-sighted-tragic-and-technically-not-allowed

also read the blogs to the right on the page...bottom line, this is far from over

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 04:08:59 PM
I like Scott's reaction, he is taking in the information and data available to him, not the inflated pumped up numbers from the special interests, and make a gut call. Its refreshing since Crist was little more than a limp noodle.

yapp1850

February 16, 2011, 04:17:09 PM
us dot is talking about going over scotts head and have some type of partership with the cities or some other way without state support

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 04:26:32 PM
I like Scott's reaction, he is taking in the information and data available to him, not the inflated pumped up numbers from the special interests, and make a gut call. Its refreshing since Crist was little more than a limp noodle.

not exactly...he took the information provided by the Reason Foundation (they too are a special interest)...read their report, then read his press release.

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/content/rick-scotts-rail-feasibility-study-appears-be-report-libertarian-reason-foundation

of course its even worse...when the Reason Foundation learned that private sector would be taking on the extra cost and risk, they said go ahead.

again, I have no problem if FL leaves it up to the private sector and they decide the risk is too great!

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 04:56:08 PM
Quote
I have no problem if FL leaves it up to the private sector and they decide the risk is too great!

If the private sector saw the opportunity to make money, why wouldn't they have already built the dang thing? Its dead without Federal/State funding.

mtraininjax

February 16, 2011, 04:58:00 PM
Quote
us dot is talking about going over scotts head and have some type of partership with the cities or some other way without state support

That will set a nice precedent with the other 49 states.....Remember we still have a healthcare bill in limbo, then the State of Florida opted out of the Federal Medicare program as well in today's paper. Pretty radical changes so soon....and my bet is we still have more to see.

stephendare

February 16, 2011, 05:24:19 PM
Quote
us dot is talking about going over scotts head and have some type of partership with the cities or some other way without state support

That will set a nice precedent with the other 49 states.....Remember we still have a healthcare bill in limbo, then the State of Florida opted out of the Federal Medicare program as well in today's paper. Pretty radical changes so soon....and my bet is we still have more to see.

That should be just awesome.  If we play our cards right, north florida could be competing with Alabama, and arkansas for most backwards status.  This man is a stone cold criminal.

NthDegree

February 16, 2011, 05:42:02 PM
Wendell Scott and Robert Poole?  Not what I would call unbiased, independent or balanced.   

FayeforCure

February 16, 2011, 05:53:21 PM
I like Scott's reaction, he is taking in the information and data available to him, not the inflated pumped up numbers from the special interests, and make a gut call. Its refreshing since Crist was little more than a limp noodle.

Yeah, yeah so much for gut calls!! I remember Bush's gut call that landed us in two extremely expensive wars. Real gutsy expecially from someone who never served, and Scott the tax payer robber is no better.

stephendare

February 16, 2011, 05:57:05 PM
I like Scott's reaction, he is taking in the information and data available to him, not the inflated pumped up numbers from the special interests, and make a gut call. Its refreshing since Crist was little more than a limp noodle.

Yeah, yeah so much for gut calls!! I remember Bush's gut call that landed us in two extremely expensive wars. Real gutsy expecially from someone who never served, and Scott the tax payer robber is no better.

+1

BridgeTroll

February 16, 2011, 06:23:49 PM
How much money did the Feds "give" Jacksonville to build the Skyway?  How many jobs did it produce during construction?  Was this part of the local argument in favor of the Skyway's construction?

thelakelander

February 16, 2011, 06:24:39 PM
What a pure dumbass.... I ran across this in another transportation discussion board.  Did this guy really think the federal money would be reallocated for I-4 road construction after what just happened in Wisconsin and Ohio?  

Quote
Scott said he informed U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood of his decision earlier Wednesday.

Scott wrote to Hood that he did not believe high-speed rail would "create any meaningful" jobs beyond the construction phase and would not "economically sustainable" over the long haul.

Scott said he instead wants federal dollars to "invest in higher yield" projects like "widening Interstate 4 in Orange County."

Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin have also rejected high-speed rail plans.

Quote
LaHood Responds To Scott's Letter

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released the following statement Wednesday:

"We are extremely disappointed by Governor Rick Scott's decision to walk away from the job creating and economic development benefits of high speed rail in Florida. We worked with the governor to make sure we eliminated all financial risk for the state, instead requiring private businesses competing for the project to assume cost overruns and operating expenses. It is projects like these that will help America out-build our global competitors and lay the foundation needed to win the future. This project could have supported thousands of good-paying jobs for Floridians and helped grow Florida businesses, all while alleviating congestion on Florida's highways. Nevertheless, there is overwhelming demand for high speed rail in other states that are enthusiastic to receive Florida's funding and the economic benefits it can deliver, such as manufacturing and construction jobs, as well as private development along its corridors."

For those believing this dedicated money could be reallocated for statewide Amtrak service or anything else, good luck with finding the funds to move those projects forward.....

I've been as critical as anyone on the way this project was being planned, but it made all the sense in the world to allow private companies the chance to assume the risks, bid and run their own numbers, making minor modifications, etc. before throwing the baby out with the bath water.

thelakelander

February 16, 2011, 06:26:44 PM
How much money did the Feds "give" Jacksonville to build the Skyway?  How many jobs did it produce during construction?  Was this part of the local argument in favor of the Skyway's construction?

The feds paid $184 million for the skyway demonstration project.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for not attempting to integrate it with the rest of the transportation network and surrounding land uses.  In other words, we're the reason the O&M numbers are so high and revenue is so low.  A simple change in how we operate can result in big cost savings.  Seriously, at some point, we've got to be held accountable for our own actions on projects like these.

BridgeTroll

February 16, 2011, 06:30:02 PM
How much money did the Feds "give" Jacksonville to build the Skyway?  How many jobs did it produce during construction?  Was this part of the local argument in favor of the Skyway's construction?

The feds paid $184 million for the skyway demonstration project.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for not attempting to integrate it with the rest of the transportation network and surrounding land uses.  In other words, we're the reason the O&M numbers are so high and revenue is so low.  A simple change in how we operate can result in big cost savings.  Seriously, at some point, we've got to be held accountable for our own actions on projects like these.

No doubt... that is why I am asking the questions.  Obviously there is no comparison of the size of the projects.  What about percentage of funding?  Was the "free money" argument used in Jax as it is being used for the HSR?

thelakelander

February 16, 2011, 06:45:03 PM
Ock will know better than I would, but I believe it was.  The major difference in the case of Florida's HSR is that the private sector was willing to pick up the state's tab, assume all risks and operate it for the chance to position themselves in the U.S. market.  That was not the case with the skyway.

dougskiles

February 16, 2011, 08:45:03 PM
The feds paid $184 million for the skyway demonstration project.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for not attempting to integrate it with the rest of the transportation network and surrounding land uses.  In other words, we're the reason the O&M numbers are so high and revenue is so low.  A simple change in how we operate can result in big cost savings.  Seriously, at some point, we've got to be held accountable for our own actions on projects like these.

That simple change is already taking place.  I ride the Skyway an average of 2-3 days per week.  In the last month I have noticed a significant increase in ridership.  I'm not making this up.  No matter what time of day, most cars have 4 people sitting and 2 standing.  I asked a friend at JTA the reason, and he told me that the bus routes have been changed to stop at Kings Avenue and FSCJ.  So now people who were previously riding a bus through downtown are taking the Skyway.  This shows exactly how the Skyway can be effectively used as part of a larger system.  I expect that there will be a fuel savings by not having to run the buses downtown and the headway times should improve along the routes outside of downtown.  Not to mention that a pedestrian on the sidewalk isn't breathing in as much diesel exhaust.  Great decision, JTA.

thelakelander

February 16, 2011, 08:48:09 PM
Scott's decision is taking a lot of heat.  The next few days should be interesting.  It is kind of silly that one dude can come in and rip apart something so large overnight.

Quote
Can high-speed rail backers bypass Gov. Rick Scott?

Florida's congressional delegation, state officials and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer are pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott's decision Wednesday to reject $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money to build a high-speed train between Orlando and Tampa.

"This is a century-type decision that needs to be vetted," Dyer said. "I don't think it was given a fair hearing."

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood intends to meet either in person or by phone Friday with Florida elected officials, likely including Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Reps. John Mica, R-Winter Park, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, to discuss ways of keeping the project alive even as California, New York and Washington state offered to take some of the money.

And some officials were bitterly critical of Scott for pulling the plug even before bids had gone out to build the 84-mile system. Eight consortia of companies from 11 countries had indicated they would be willing to put up some or all of the state's $280 million share of the project, while the bid terms would have required them to absorb cost overruns and any operating losses for 20 years.

In a brief news conference Wednesday — at which he denounced President Barack Obama's budget — Scott went into little detail about his decision, referring only generally to the current and future cost of the train. The state has spent about $27 million in federal money on preliminary engineering and design and was about to issue contracts for an additional $170 million.

"My concern with this is if you look at ridership studies, I don't see any way anyone is going to get a return. And so I'm very concerned about the Florida taxpayers," Scott said.

Scott said it is projected that up to 3.07 million people a year would take the train, which was set to run at speeds up to 168 mph between Orlando International Airport and Tampa.

Officials said the ridership number came from a new study being conducted by two private companies for FDOT. That study has not been released, but Scott has been briefed on it, sources said.

Scott implied that the ridership projection he cited were inflated because Amtrak's Acela fast train between Washington and Boston carried only 3.2 million passengers in 2010, even though far more people live in the Northeast Corridor. However, PolitiFact Florida noted that an additional 7.15 million people rode regional rail lines in the Northeast last year and rated Scott's comparison "half true."

Scott also said Wednesday that he was worried that Florida would be on the hook for $3 billion or more if a business built the train and walked away because it was running a big deficit, an assertion based on a report critical of high-speed rail that was released in January by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank.

Robert Poole, a co-author, had warned that Florida taxpayers could lose billions because many train projects have gone over budget and drawn fewer riders than projected. And Poole said Wednesday that he was skeptical a business would be willing to cover possible construction overruns or operating deficits, meaning the state could have been forced to bear those expenses.

"I think this is a responsible decision," Poole said.

However, a senior aide to LaHood said that concern about long-term deficits had never been voiced by Scott: "We could have negotiated this issue in a final agreement with Florida if they had continued with negotiations. Governor Scott never raised this issue, and the DOT never intended to put the state on the hook for decades to come."

Scott also said he was still reviewing the SunRail commuter-train project linking downtown Orlando with Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties later this decade, even though money has been set aside in the state budget he proposed last week.

Scott's decision drew applause from tea-party groups who had worked for his election last year and cheered him last week when he introduced his $65.8 billion budget at a rally in Eustis.

"We met with the Governor on HSR this past week and we are even more encouraged today that he has again stood strong against the politics as usual played by the Beltway crowd," said Sharon Calvert, co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party, in a statement.

If the decision holds, it would end yet another attempt to bring high-speed rail to Florida, a quest begun under former Gov. Bob Graham during the 1980s. Several efforts came close, including one scuttled in 2004 by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Nelson said he talked Wednesday with LaHood about pursuing a plan that would create another Florida entity that could serve as proxy to accept the federal money, rather than the state. This might involve a team of cities such as Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa, maybe even with private partners.

"We can't afford to allow this opportunity to pass us by," Nelson said.


State legislators questioned why the governor would turn down the estimated 23,000 construction jobs the train could create after he campaigned on a "jobs agenda."

Without letting the private sector come to the table, we really don't know how viable it is," said Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera. "There's no rational reason at all not to allow that to happen — unless you're afraid of what you might hear. We might hear that this thing will work."

Lawmakers appropriated $300 million for the project last year, and Scott cannot constitutionally scuttle that spending without legislative authority, said Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander. Lawmakers first approved the project at a special session in late 2009 that also authorized construction of SunRail.

But Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said lawmakers had mixed feelings about it given the tea-party-fueled outrage over federal spending. An attempt to continue funding would likely meet with a Scott veto, he said, and "I don't believe there'd be the support to override the veto."

But Scott's seeming disregard for the Legislature's appropriating power — whether it's selling a state plane or killing rail projects — alarmed some lawmakers.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, said he planned to lobby legislators to fight the governor's move and did not think Scott could unilaterally kill the project.

I disagree with what the governor has said, and I do hope this is not an irrevocable situation," Simmons said.

Among the most dismayed was C.C. "Doc" Dockery, the retired Lakeland insurance magnate who has spent 30 years trying to get a high-speed train in Florida.

He congratulated California because he figures LaHood eventually will move much of the money there, just as he previously sent additional funds to Florida after Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio pulled out of high-speed endeavors. California wants to build a train that eventually would link Los Angeles with San Francisco.

The aide to LaHood said the money would not be sent elsewhere while Scott's opponents try to figure out a way to save the train.

Dockery, a longtime Republican fundraiser and husband of state Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, also questioned whether Scott really understood how high-speed rail was supposed to operate in Florida.

"The governor is saying to these teams that they must be lying when they agree to accept cost overruns and ridership risks," Dockery said.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-scott-rejects-rail-money-20110216,0,2863027.story?page=2

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 09:20:05 PM

That will set a nice precedent with the other 49 states.....Remember we still have a healthcare bill in limbo, then the State of Florida opted out of the Federal Medicare program as well in today's paper. Pretty radical changes so soon....and my bet is we still have more to see.

wow...you really need to brush up on your reading....what Florida did yesterday was float the possibility of opting out of the Medicaid program.

tufsu1

February 16, 2011, 09:30:43 PM
Scott implied that the ridership projection he cited were inflated because Amtrak's Acela fast train between Washington and Boston carried only 3.2 million passengers in 2010, even though far more people live in the Northeast Corridor. However, PolitiFact Florida noted that an additional 7.15 million people rode regional rail lines in the Northeast last year and rated Scott's comparison "half true."

actually it is worse...3 million ride Acela plus another 9 million ride other Amtrak trains in the northeast corridor and  commuter rail in Boston, NY, Philly, and DC...total is 12 million

Lunican

February 16, 2011, 10:56:17 PM


1988 - Robert Blanchette, President of TGV of Florida, Inc., gives the thumbs up sign at the end of his presentation Monday as he presented his bullet train proposal to the Florida High Speed Rail Transportation Commission. TGV was one of Four who presented proposals. The chart at left shows TGV's route proposals.

Ocklawaha

February 16, 2011, 11:21:31 PM
Oh, and yes, the SKYWAY was all about "FREE - FREE - FREE."

Scott implied that the ridership projection he cited were inflated because Amtrak's Acela fast train between Washington and Boston carried only 3.2 million passengers in 2010, even though far more people live in the Northeast Corridor. However, PolitiFact Florida noted that an additional 7.15 million people rode regional rail lines in the Northeast last year and rated Scott's comparison "half true."

actually it is worse...3 million ride Acela plus another 9 million ride other Amtrak trains in the northeast corridor and  commuter rail in Boston, NY, Philly, and DC...total is 12 million

Exactly why HSR will fail as planned. 3 million rode that ACELA train because most of them are also frequently among the 9 million passengers on the regular Amtrak Corridor trains.

Florida has no Amtrak Corridor trains, and no 9 million seasoned rail passengers to draw from, worse still the HSR train would bypass the corridor in actuality serving only a partial Lakeland-Tampa segment.

The idea that we are somehow missing out on an opportunity to alleviate the traffic on I-4 is twisted logic, since the Orlando Terminal for the stupid thing would be no where near I-4, OR DOWNTOWN OR, AMTRAK for that matter. That flying train wouldn't remove 120 cars a day from the highway commute.

Think private industry will save us from a huge deficit if we go on with the project? Let's see how that worked out for some of the following railroads, and they had freight to fall back on, Florida HSR doesn't:





ERIE LACKAWANNA RAILROAD







READING RAILROAD







PENN CENTRAL RAILROAD







CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE, ST. PAUL AND PACIFIC RAILROAD







ROCK ISLAND RAILROAD

Still think a few hundred $30 dollar daily tickets are going to help? If that's all we get, and it goes belly up, no amount of promises in the world are going to save the taxpayer from bailing out this boondoggle.

OCKLAWAHA

yapp1850

February 17, 2011, 12:51:20 AM
hey do you think hillsborough,polk,Osceola,orange can start a new plan have some partership with amtrak, us dot with out state support as long is rick scott is charge of the state there will be no new passenger rail, so local cities most found a way without state support.

Dashing Dan

February 17, 2011, 08:48:01 AM
What I am learning from this thread is that with regard to passenger rail, Jacksonville is more important to Georgia and the Carolinas than we are to the rest of Florida.  If there had been a national passenger railroad plan prior to the allocation of HSR grant money, then we'd be sitting pretty right now, instead of hoping for a share of the scraps if the HSR deal continues to fall apart. In a perverse way, Scott's actions are pointing out the need for meaningful plans to be developed prior to any massive public expenditure.

NthDegree

February 17, 2011, 10:01:11 AM
Scott's "half truth" statements ...


http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/feb/16/rick-scott/rick-scott-cites-amtrak-ridership-numbers-announci/

One has to wonder if Scott understands transportation at all.     

Ocklawaha

February 17, 2011, 11:11:21 AM
Scott's "half truth" statements ...


http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/feb/16/rick-scott/rick-scott-cites-amtrak-ridership-numbers-announci/

One has to wonder if Scott understands transportation at all.     

If you want to read half truths and outright deceptions, read the Florida High Speed Rail Application. Shades of "The Skyway will carry 60,000 daily passengers."

OCKLAWAHA

JeffreyS

February 17, 2011, 11:47:48 AM
Ock I believe you are onto something in regard to the poor planning of this HSR line.  However if dumping it creates a political reality that we will have no more federal money for transit in the near future killing the HSR may be chopping off our arm to fix a broken finger.

mtraininjax

February 17, 2011, 12:05:33 PM
Ock - PennCentral went down due to labor and most of the railroads have always had issues with labor, basically because the Robber Barons screwed people for so long that the FRA got involved and made railroads run trains, especially PC, that were empty, just to keep the unions happy, so it was obvious they were going to fail. What idiot told the Milwaukee Road to run electrical from St. Paul to Seattle? Those trains were losers for them, for sure. The BNSF has a great book, called Leaders Lead, don't know if you have read it, talks about how BNSF came together with great leaders. Just a segway into some of the pics above.

stjr

February 17, 2011, 09:09:11 PM
Well, folks, Scott typifies what I have been saying all along about the impact of continuing to operate boondoggles like the Skyway which has severely damaged Jax mass transit for a generation or more.

Failures like the Skyway are pillars of support to decisions such as this one made by Scott.  I have tried repeatedly to convince fellow MJ mass transit rail supporters that this is another reason to eliminate the Skyway.  In the eyes of many, it is more an example of the alleged folly of rail and other mass transit forms than it is an inspiration to invest even more in such projects.

Should any Skyway expansion advocates succeed in getting their desires moved into the center ring of public discussion by our politicos (I really don't give this much probability in the current environment), expect a boomerang of epic proportions from Scott's mindless minions added to those already prone to junk it based on its historic failures.  Good luck surviving that war.  Meanwhile, such a battle will likely succeed in sapping the public's short attention span and any remaining tiny reservoir of goodwill for rail mass transit, leaving nothing of significance upon which to build a case for streetcars and commuter rail.  

Be careful what you ask for.

By the way, while Scott is in a cost killing mode, can he show equal treatment to roads, and kill the $1.8 billion Outer Beltway project?

Ocklawaha

February 17, 2011, 11:19:30 PM
Ock I believe you are onto something in regard to the poor planning of this HSR line.  However if dumping it creates a political reality that we will have no more federal money for transit in the near future killing the HSR may be chopping off our arm to fix a broken finger.

The Federal Money for transit will continue to flow as agencies request funding from the FTA. However a failure of the HSR system would mean certain death to the whole concept in America... Just look at the extremes STJR goes to in his obsession to kill the Skyway, even though we (actually about 4) JTA officials under aliasis on MJ have told him it would end all FTA funding for a decade or more. IE: Why would we give back the HSR money and not reinvest it? NOT ALLOWED, don't follow through and you owe uncle Sam.

I'm so certain of the failure of this thing in Central Florida that I've pretty much staked my name and reputation on it.

I'm going to work up something from the FDOT applications for HSR funding, so everyone (maybe even Faye  ;D ) can see the outright falsehoods and the dream world these guys live in. I know that somewhere in those tons of papers there is a section on reasons to build, and one of the reasons given for a multi-billion dollar project is:
"Because it's fun."  I just hope to God that one of our own consultants working on the project didn't write that!


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

February 17, 2011, 11:32:22 PM
Ock - PennCentral went down due to labor and most of the railroads have always had issues with labor, basically because the Robber Barons screwed people for so long that the FRA got involved and made railroads run trains, especially PC, that were empty, just to keep the unions happy, so it was obvious they were going to fail. What idiot told the Milwaukee Road to run electrical from St. Paul to Seattle? Those trains were losers for them, for sure. The BNSF has a great book, called Leaders Lead, don't know if you have read it, talks about how BNSF came together with great leaders. Just a segway into some of the pics above.

"The FRA got involved and made railroads run trains, especially PC, that were empty, just to keep the unions happy, so it was obvious they were going to fail."  BINGO MY FRIEND!

Exactly what will happen to Mickey's Flying Train in the middle of I-4 when ridership doesn't top 2,000 a day and the state wants to shutter the windows.

They will be faced with expanding it to reach a hard market, like the ORLANDO METROPOLITAN AREA rather then the stupid airport and International "Amusement Park" Drive.

Hours will be cut, the unions will go berserk and the whole damn world of American High Speed Rail will implode. Sounds rather Skywayesq doesn't it?

I'll have to check out the BNSF book. Speaking of which have you read:

Quote
To hell in a day coach
Lyon, Peter
To hell in a day coach
an exasperated look at American railroads.
[1st ed.]
Published 1968 by Lippincott in Philadelphia .
Written in English.
Classifications
Dewey Decimal Class
   385/.0973
Library of Congress
   HE2751 .L9

OR:

Quote
The wreck of the Penn Central
[by] J.R. Daughen and P. Binzen.
Published 1973 by New American Library .
Written in English.
ID Numbers
Open Library
   OL21411980M

Thought you'd appreciate the PC GREEN...

OCKLAWAHA
Always in ATLANTIC COAST LINE PURPLE...

thelakelander

February 18, 2011, 06:20:41 AM
Its always a bad idea to throw the baby out with the bath water and turning down $2.4 billion in funding without even exploring modifications to the plan to make a more efficient end product is a horrible way to do business.

peestandingup

February 18, 2011, 07:44:40 AM
Its always a bad idea to through the baby out with the bath water and turning down $2.4 billion in funding without even exploring modifications to the plan to make a more efficient end product is a horrible way to do business.

You're right. It needs thrown out, but he's doing it for all the wrong reasons. And the people who are against it are against it for all the wrong reasons.

Everyone's trying to turn this into a political debate. Typical arm-chair politics at work here from the uninformed public. What's new.

Aren't these idiots only supposed to come out of hiding during a presidential election?? Tell them to go back into their holes there in Bumblefuck Nowhere USA & shut up.

mtraininjax

February 18, 2011, 08:16:03 AM
Ock - Something in the air, we are actually agreeing, and I am finding myself agreeing with Lake, wow. Stephen, well, its a work in progress. :-)

tufsu1

February 18, 2011, 10:02:37 AM
Scott's "half truth" statements ...


http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2011/feb/16/rick-scott/rick-scott-cites-amtrak-ridership-numbers-announci/

One has to wonder if Scott understands transportation at all.    

If you want to read half truths and outright deceptions, read the Florida High Speed Rail Application. Shades of "The Skyway will carry 60,000 daily passengers."

OCKLAWAHA

Ock...why aren't you willing to let the private sector partners do their own due diligence...I'm sure they will be very conseravtive in their ridership forecasts and if doesn't add up, they won't bid.

So far, they've all shown interest....in the case of the Outer Beltway they all looked over the FDOT reports and then said, this won't work.

In the end, I'm willing to bet that folks like TGV, Virgin, Siemens, and Mitusbishi know a bit more about high speed rail than any of us!

Mattius92

February 18, 2011, 11:17:26 AM
What we needed is some Japanese or French guy to come here and tell us what to do. Regardless as long as the oil business and car manufacturing business is heavily supported I don't think we will see anything. Lastly the public needs to stop thinking about that car and think of alternatives, a car is nice, but there is better ways.

thelakelander

February 18, 2011, 11:26:09 AM
Ock...why aren't you willing to let the private sector partners do their own due diligence...I'm sure they will be very conseravtive in their ridership forecasts and if doesn't add up, they won't bid.

So far, they've all shown interest....in the case of the Outer Beltway they all looked over the FDOT reports and then said, this won't work.

In the end, I'm willing to bet that folks like TGV, Virgin, Siemens, and Mitusbishi know a bit more about high speed rail than any of us!

I would think that someone like Ock would be in favor of letting the private sector put in their own money and structure the final product in a manner that makes it workable.  I'm mean, for all of you guys claiming that improving an Amtrak operated system may be a better solution, you'll need that cash to remain in Florida instead of being redistributed to California, New York and Illinois.

Quote
From Washington to Tallahassee, Florida lawmakers scrambled Thursday to save $2.4 billion in federal money for high-speed rail that Gov. Rick Scott rejected.

In Washington, members of Florida’s Congressional delegation met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who gave them one week to cobble together a complicated deal that would give the money to a private entity such as Amtrak or a regional planning organization.

“The cart’s in a ditch right now and we’ve got to figure out a way if we can all pull it out together,” said U.S. Rep. John Mica, an Orlando area Republican who is chairman of the powerful House transportation committee.

finehoe

February 18, 2011, 02:33:13 PM
I'm sure they will be very conseravtive in their ridership forecasts and if doesn't add up, they won't bid.

That depends on if they are bidding to build it or bidding to run it.

If they only want to build it, then it is to their advantage to inflate the ridership numbers, take the money from the state and then move on.  After they've made their money during construction, they couldn't care less if their ridership numbers were accurate or not.

RiversideLoki

February 18, 2011, 02:46:47 PM


TRRRAAAIIIIINNNNSSSS

thelakelander

February 18, 2011, 03:01:02 PM
I'm sure they will be very conseravtive in their ridership forecasts and if doesn't add up, they won't bid.

That depends on if they are bidding to build it or bidding to run it.

If they only want to build it, then it is to their advantage to inflate the ridership numbers, take the money from the state and then move on.  After they've made their money during construction, they couldn't care less if their ridership numbers were accurate or not.

From my understanding, they will be bidding to build and run it.  This has been the deal for a while now and has been covered pretty well by the media...(well media outside of Jax). 

mtraininjax

February 18, 2011, 04:57:31 PM
My last post on this, but this may provide perspective...From the St. Petersburg Times

Quote
Sure, Gov. Rick Scott has expressed concern all along that high speed rail would end up being a drain on Florida taxpayers. But could there be something else behind the high-profile announcement he made two days after President Barack Obama released his budget? Multiple sources have offered up this theory: Scott was irritated Obama's budget didn't include money for dredging the Jacksonville and Miami ports or a container transfer facility at Port Everglades. Scott has repeatedly said he talked to U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood about the importance of Florida's ports. And in remarks both yesterday and today, he mentioned the need to improve those facilities to take advantage of trade opportunities when the Panama Canal is expanded, when the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama are ratified, and as the economies of Central and South America expand.

From his news conference yesterday: "By capturing a larger share of containerized imports entering our seaports, expanding export markets for Florida businesses and emerging as a global hub for trade and investment we can create up to an additional 143,000 jobs according to a recent chamber of commerce study."

Garden guy

February 18, 2011, 05:00:28 PM
Rick Scott is a liar and a thief and cannot be trusted...every word from his lips are full of idiocy and i can't believe my fellow dems were so lazy and let him win....i can't wait to get him out....he's going to take this state back about 50 years. Help us all.

thelakelander

February 18, 2011, 05:02:44 PM
Lol, Scott's plan is to convince Obama to spend HSR money on Florida ports?  Good luck with that one.  My guess is that HSR money will go to other HSR projects.  I base that on Scott saying the same exact thing as Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio did and we see how that turned out.  The money was taken from them and redistributed to other state's HSR projects.

JeffreyS

February 18, 2011, 05:08:49 PM
I would agree ports should be a very high priority now with Panamax coming. However I do not see how Governor Scott could leverage that rejection of the Administration's pet project into a more favorable funding situation for our ports.

Lunican

February 18, 2011, 05:13:42 PM
So Rick Scott thinks that the ports will get funded by rejecting high speed rail funding?

mtraininjax

February 18, 2011, 05:17:13 PM
More like tit for tat, since his port initiatives were not included in the funding that came from the DOT in January. Miami, at the least, should have received 75 million to help them dredge and get ready for Post-Panamax. The fact they got nothing was probably too much of a slap in the face to the 3rd largest state in the union's governor. And we think that these leaders all act like grownups.....

thelakelander

February 18, 2011, 05:20:53 PM
But going political tit for tat gets us no where.  We just end up sucking at everything.

Lunican

February 18, 2011, 05:26:29 PM
From Jeb Bush:

Bush fielded questions from the group, including one about Gov. Rick Scott's decision to scuttle plans for a high speed rail in Central Florida.

"I'm surprised he didn't let the process go to a conclusion...before pulling the plug," Bush said, saying he was somewhat taken aback by Scott's timing.

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/403455/abel-harding/2011-02-17/jeb-bush-likes-mitch-daniels-2012-prospects

JeffreyS

February 18, 2011, 08:05:42 PM
I wish Florida had not been chosen for HSR funding.  If we had not been chosen our Governor would not yet have had the chance to throw a mud ball in the face of the Federal Government he is going to want to fund other things.

fsujax

February 18, 2011, 08:13:53 PM
I wish they would have funded the FEC/AMTRAK project and not the HSR project. I would have been happy with that.

tufsu1

February 18, 2011, 08:50:33 PM
I'm sure they will be very conseravtive in their ridership forecasts and if doesn't add up, they won't bid.

That depends on if they are bidding to build it or bidding to run it.


the RFP will be for design, build, oppertate, maintain, and finance...called DBOM+F

tufsu1

February 18, 2011, 08:51:44 PM
So Rick Scott thinks that the ports will get funded by rejecting high speed rail funding?

well he is smart like that!

tufsu1

February 18, 2011, 08:52:41 PM
From Jeb Bush:

Bush fielded questions from the group, including one about Gov. Rick Scott's decision to scuttle plans for a high speed rail in Central Florida.

"I'm surprised he didn't let the process go to a conclusion...before pulling the plug," Bush said, saying he was somewhat taken aback by Scott's timing.

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/403455/abel-harding/2011-02-17/jeb-bush-likes-mitch-daniels-2012-prospects

and remember...Jeb is the one who killed this back in 2004...when the state was on the hook for most of the cost.

Clem1029

February 19, 2011, 08:41:30 AM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.

stephendare

February 19, 2011, 10:51:19 AM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.
'

Clem,

What part of money saving dont you understand?

If you don't build out the rail you will have to continue maintaining and building out the highways which are dozens of times more expensive.

If only we could spend as little as a few billion on highways, then we wouldnt have much of a budget problem.

Of course, the republican tax cuts for the wealthiest dont seem to be translating either into jobs or any infrastructure improvement either, so um..... I guess we will have to do it the old fashioned way.

Build more efficient and geometrically less expensive rail so that we can stop relying on concrete and asphalt.

tufsu1

February 19, 2011, 08:24:54 PM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.

that's fine...we can always do nothing and have more gridlock around this country.

but we all know the $ will be spent anyway...so wouldn't you rather have the tax dfollars you already paid (or will pay someday) to be spent in FL instead of CA or NY?

Clem1029

February 19, 2011, 08:46:24 PM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.

that's fine...we can always do nothing and have more gridlock around this country.

but we all know the $ will be spent anyway...so wouldn't you rather have the tax dfollars you already paid (or will pay someday) to be spent in FL instead of CA or NY?
No, I'd rather money we don't have not be spent anywhere. See, my problem is with the mindset of "this money is going to get spent, so let's get our piece of the pie." Moreover, at this point, it isn't tax money I pay/will eventually pay, but it's tax money my grandchildren already have to pay. "Spending" isn't "saving." It's not a matter of wanting gridlock. It's a simple reality - we are broke, and until we get our financial house in order, both as a nation and as a state, we shouldn't spend money we don't have. The federal money we've all been discussing isn't "free" money - at best, it's just funny money that will never have to be repaid.

Sure, it's just a couple of billion in the multi-trillion dollar deficits this administration is racking up. But taking on a questionable project like this with my grandchildren's money without fixing the other problems first is wishful thinking. This isn't a position of "let's build more roads instead" - it's just a realistic view that we don't have anything to work with.

We can all debate until the cows come home the reasons leading up to our current financial situation, and everyone would likely be partially right and mostly wrong. At the end of the day, it's an exercise in mental masturbation. The reality is that we are broke on all levels. Until we take care of the big picture items, little picture stuff such as the FL/WI/OH HSR projects shouldn't even be on the table. The biggest problem here is that it's going to be years until we're in a position to adequately address things from a fiscal perspective.

See, in general terms, I buy the position that properly planned rail will be a money saver in the long term. Unfortunately, the FL HSR plan is a) obviously not properly planned and b) a deficit sink in the short term. In this current environment, neither is palatable.

So no, I don't accept the mindset that "this money will be spent anyways." Call me idealistic, but I'm saying "this money shouldn't be spent anywhere until we have it to spend."

thelakelander

February 19, 2011, 09:00:31 PM
Why can't we open the door to private bidding and allow the private sector some flexibility?  What's with the either/or scenarios we back ourselves into? Anyway, ideology is one thing, reality is another.  That $2.4 billion will be spent in this state or another.  That's as clear as day right now. 

peestandingup

February 19, 2011, 09:11:33 PM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.

that's fine...we can always do nothing and have more gridlock around this country.

but we all know the $ will be spent anyway...so wouldn't you rather have the tax dfollars you already paid (or will pay someday) to be spent in FL instead of CA or NY?
No, I'd rather money we don't have not be spent anywhere. See, my problem is with the mindset of "this money is going to get spent, so let's get our piece of the pie." Moreover, at this point, it isn't tax money I pay/will eventually pay, but it's tax money my grandchildren already have to pay. "Spending" isn't "saving." It's not a matter of wanting gridlock. It's a simple reality - we are broke, and until we get our financial house in order, both as a nation and as a state, we shouldn't spend money we don't have. The federal money we've all been discussing isn't "free" money - at best, it's just funny money that will never have to be repaid.

Lemme guess though. You totally have no problem spending money we don't have on unnecessary wars fighting cave people & occupying entire countries/nation building. Do you even realize just how much we spend doing that daily?? Because I assure you that it absolutely dwarfs any of these piddly little projects we're arguing about here.

Kinda throws a monkey wrench in the whole "fiscal conservative" angle some people push, doesn't it.

Clem1029

February 19, 2011, 09:31:18 PM
Why can't we open the door to private bidding and allow the private sector some flexibility?  What's with the either/or scenarios we back ourselves into? Anyway, ideology is one thing, reality is another.  That $2.4 billion will be spent in this state or another.  That's as clear as day right now.  
Lake, I can buy the position of opening it to bidding from the private sector if that's all it was...but it's a complete red herring. The private sector won't bid unless the government spends billions, not just in our state, but nationwide. The private sector won't get involved until we spend money we don't have. If nothing else, that sounds like the housing collapse...spend a ton of money you don't have on a questionable investment under the assumption that it always goes up. That's just as much ideology as my position of not spending money we don't have.

Although, if I'm misreading the "private sector" argument, please correct me - are you suggesting putting it out for bid without the $2.4 billion guarantee? If that's the case, then yeah, let's have at it and see what can be done.

Keep in mind, my position isn't "don't spend money on rail anywhere ever." It's "get our financial house in order, and prioritize what we want to spend money we do have on." That $2.4 billion should not be spent, anywhere, until it's actually a real money budgeted line item, not a funny-money wishful thinking plan.

Quote from: peestandingup
Lemme guess though. You totally have no problem spending money we don't have on unnecessary wars fighting cave people & occupying entire countries/nation building. Do you even realize just how much we spend doing that daily?? Because I assure you that it absolutely dwarfs any of these piddly little projects we're arguing about here.
Geez...that didn't take long. I was wondering when this non-sequitur would come up. This argument is completely useless given the 4 years of controlling the purse-strings, combined with 2 years of complete and total legislative and executive control. At the end of the day, it's obvious the wars are more useful as a cudgel (as you so aptly demonstrate) than as a position of principle that need to be eliminated. You want to fund national rail and other infrastructure projects nationwide? That's awesome...let's see the bill offered that ties it to ending the wars, and then let's see how Congress votes on it. Allowing an escape that let's politicians vote for money without any real concern for the consequences is a cop out.

Either way, it's irrelevant. The wars are a historical reality. The existing situation is a historical reality. The need for rail and other infrastructure projects are a historical reality. What is also a reality is we can't afford to do EVERYTHING certain groups want us to do. We need to have an honest debate in this country as to what our priorities are, and then build a financial structure around it. Unfortunately, "honest debate" is lacking as much as the dollars to fund all this wishful thinking.

So yeah..use the military spending as a stick to try and silence fiscal opposition.  It might make you feel better, but it does nothing to advance the position that we need to fund these projects.

thelakelander

February 19, 2011, 09:54:10 PM
Clem, I can understand your position (and I even agree to a certain point) but unfortunately, it isn't reality in this particular case.

BridgeTroll

February 20, 2011, 10:10:31 AM
You know...not to sound overly, say, conservative...it scares me that nobody has made the obvious suggestion, with the FL, OH and WI federal money, to simply not spend it on anything, regardless of state? Since we don't actually have the money and all?

I know...crazy talk.

that's fine...we can always do nothing and have more gridlock around this country.

but we all know the $ will be spent anyway...so wouldn't you rather have the tax dfollars you already paid (or will pay someday) to be spent in FL instead of CA or NY?

I dont travel in that area often... Was gridlock an issue between Orlando and Tampa?

tufsu1

February 20, 2011, 10:29:20 PM
Gridlock was a regular occurrence on I-4 when it was only 4 lanes...things are much smootherf w/ 6 lanes now...but give it 5-10 years and we'll be right back to gridlock

thelakelander

February 20, 2011, 10:41:00 PM
Gridlock is still common in Orlando and the Disney/Lake Buena Vista area.  I typically run into stop and go traffic on I-4 every time I make the drive to visit my parents.

Mattius92

February 20, 2011, 10:48:28 PM
thats because they have no bypass that isn't tolled, that city would be okay if it didn't have half a million toll roads.
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