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Gov. Scott's Rail Decisions To Impact Jacksonville

The fallout from Rick Scott's decision to end Florida's high speed rail and Orlando's Sunrail commuter rail projects will negatively impact Jacksonville.

Published February 23, 2011 in Transit      108 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Rick Scott's Reason For Killing Florida's High Speed Rail Project


A rendering of Downtown Tampa's proposed High Speed Rail station

Rick Scott believes federal high speed rail funds would be better spent on improving Florida's ports, freight rail and highway infrastructure.  Although the rail project would be funded through federal and private sector dollars, he believes that if anything goes wrong, Florida taxpayers could end up in the hole.

Quote
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.


What's Next: Killing Sunrail

"We should not fund any rail projects with Florida taxpayer dollars."
     - State Sen. Greg Evers R-Crestview


Sunrail's potential Church Street station stop

While the high speed rail plan would be funded without state financial assistance, State and local taxpayers are obligated to pay $1.43 billion over the next seven years for Sunrail.  If high speed rail doesn't align with Rick Scott's feasibility numbers, there is no way Sunrail will.

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Dockery said when she spoke to Scott last week, he told her he was evaluating SunRail by the same criteria as high-speed rail.

"His thought process was, I don't want the state of Florida to be paying for it, and I don't want the state of Florida to be on the hook for cost overruns or operations and maintenance," she said. "For SunRail, the state is on the hook for all three of those. For high-speed rail, it's none of those. If high speed can't pass that analysis, I don't see how SunRail possibly can."

Both projects cost about the same to build: around $2.6 billion, even though SunRail is nearly 23 miles shorter.

State taxpayers are obligated to pay at least $900 million over seven years for SunRail, and local taxpayers are obligated to pay $526 million. The rest of the money comes from the federal government and projected ridership revenues.

With SunRail, state taxpayers would have to pay any ridership losses for the first seven years of operation and pay for 50 percent of construction cost overruns. Private vendors would have to bear those costs for high-speed rail.

"Based on what I see, the numbers for SunRail show a whole lot more obligation for the taxpayers than the high-speed rail project," said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, who heads the Senate transportation committee.

Scott being pushed to kill Sunrail, too Full article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1152976.ece



Impacting Jacksonville

Considering the controversial Sunrail project was primarily approved last year, based on Florida's desire to receive high speed rail funding, it would only make sense that it would be eliminated too. Florida taxpayers have a higher financial obligation on Sunrail than high speed rail. When this happens, here are three direct negative impacts for Jacksonville.


1. JaxPort/North Jacksonville Rail Improvements



Everyone already knows JAXPORT's future growth potential is limited due to rail capacity issues. In selling the "A"-Line to the state, CSX had anticipated investing $40 million of its profits in rail projects to better facilitate port growth. Once high speed rail and Sunrail die, that funding source goes away.

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CSX Corp. plans to spend $40 million to connect its Northeast Jacksonville rail spur to its main line along U.S. 1 so that trains going to and from new container terminals being built or planned don't have to travel through town to its Westside rail yard.

The bypass initiative is linked to the Jacksonville Port Authority's plans to develop an intermodal container transfer facility on the Northside to receive containers from the soon-to-open TraPac Inc. terminal at Dames Point and a proposed Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. terminal nearby. Combined, the two terminals are projected to have a capacity of 1.8 million 20-foot-equivalent units of containerized cargo a year.

CSX (NYSE: CSX) would expect to generate at least two trains a day of about 280 containers each to make a North Main Street bypass economically viable, said Chief Financial Officer Clarence Gooden, who announced the initiative Monday during a news conference at the authority's Blount Island Marine Terminal.

Quote
Besides an ICTF, CSX's plan depends to some degree on the Florida Legislature approving a plan to buy 61 miles of CSX track in Central Florida for a commuter rail system. CSX plans to use some of the money from selling that line to fund the bypass line, Gooden said.

If the Legislature approves the deal, the sale could close in the fall and the company could have the project going within 18 months, Gooden said. If the sale doesn't go through, CSX's plans would be slowed.
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/topstories/news-article.aspx?storyid=107471


2. JTA Commuter Rail - CSX "A"-Line Capacity


The CSX "A" line parallels congested Blanding Boulevard between Clay and Duval Counties.

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CSX Transportation plans to move more than one-third of its freight traffic from a railway that could one day help unsnarl rush-hour gridlock between Orange Park and Jacksonville.

As part of a $491 million state contract signed last week, CSX will relocate seven to eight freight trains daily from the A line, which runs along U.S. 17, said company spokesman Gary Sease.

CSX agreed to shift the freight traffic to bypass a 61-mile commuter rail system expected to begin running in Central Florida in 2010.

Transportation planners here see the move as a potential catalyst to building a commuter rail system in Jacksonville.
CSX shifts its freight traffic for growth - http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/120407/bus_222530777.shtml

The CSX A line is the railroad track the runs parallel to Roosevelt Boulevard beween I-10 and Orange Park/Clay County. With limited connections to Jacksonville, Clay currently suffers from the longest commute times in the State of Florida. As a part of the Sunrail deal, CSX would relocate a significant portion of their existing freight rail traffic to the "S"-Line into Central Florida. The additional rail capacity created would open the opportunity to use this corridor for commuter rail purposes between Downtown Jacksonville and Clay County.  However, no Sunrail, no freight relocation, no opportunity to use the "A"-Line corridor for potential commuter rail paralleling one of Jacksonville's most congested highways.


3. Amtrak/FEC Corridor Project



So much attention has been placed on the possibility of high speed rail coming to Central Florida that many have overlooked another important project that was included in Florida's High Speed Rail application. The Amtrak/FEC corridor calls for direct Jacksonville to Miami passenger rail service to return after a 40 year absence, with trains traveling at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. Florida's refusal to make rail investments a priority in the past had the state on the verge of falling out of favor with the federal government for its high speed rail projects. The elimination of high speed rail and Sunrail will make projects like the Amtrak/FEC and local commuter rail more difficult to achieve.

Article by Ennis Davis







108 Comments

tufsu1

February 23, 2011, 07:52:29 AM
Thank you for connecting the dots Ennis...I hope this opens up some eyes as to how rail in central Florida has a direct impact on rail here in Jax.

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 08:02:09 AM
Quote
The elimination of high speed rail and Sunrail will make projects like the Amtrak/FEC and local commuter rail more difficult to achieve.

Understatement.

Governor Scott throwing mud in the eye of the Administration by shunning a project our President had prioritized will make every endeavor this state undertakes with the federal government more adversarial.  Especially given the point where he is killing it to avoid letting the private sector have their say in how things should be done. 

tufsu1

February 23, 2011, 08:36:41 AM
btw...here is the letter to the editor I mentioned a few days ago....the hope is it gets picked up by several media outlets

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/feb/23/MEOPINO1-with-rail-we-can-help-ourselves/news-opinion-commentary/

jaxlore

February 23, 2011, 08:57:09 AM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

dougskiles

February 23, 2011, 08:57:57 AM
That was a very good letter.  Thanks for posting it.  I hope that the groups who have been working so hard for rail systems in Florida won't give up the fight.  Scott is temporary and will probably (hopefully) leave Florida as soon as his term is over.  The rest of us (hopefully) will want to stay and make something of the place for a long time.

stephendare

February 23, 2011, 08:59:50 AM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

And just think.  Our homegrown kids, Suzie Wiles and Adam Hollingsworth ran the campaign that got him elected.  I hope they are both proud.

Live_Oak

February 23, 2011, 09:05:34 AM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

51% didn't vote for him.  Scott won with a plurality not a majority.

tufsu1

February 23, 2011, 09:32:47 AM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

51% didn't vote for him.  Scott won with a plurality not a majority.

and that's only of those who voted...there's another 50+ percent of Floridians who sadly stayed home on Election Day!

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 09:36:23 AM
btw...here is the letter to the editor I mentioned a few days ago....the hope is it gets picked up by several media outlets

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/feb/23/MEOPINO1-with-rail-we-can-help-ourselves/news-opinion-commentary/
Good read thanks for putting it out there.

BridgeTroll

February 23, 2011, 09:59:42 AM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

51% didn't vote for him.  Scott won with a plurality not a majority.

and that's only of those who voted...there's another 50+ percent of Floridians who sadly stayed home on Election Day!

Yep!  Where were they??

Jumpinjack

February 23, 2011, 10:29:01 AM
Good article. Attended HSR meetings in 2001 or 2002 and again in 2009 and I've seen how it is affecting the growth of commuter rail in Orlando and Tampa. Good work to point out the effects on the rest of us.

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 11:20:28 AM
To insinuate that moving trains from the A line will improve Blanding traffic is disingenuous to say the least.  Trains aren't what cause the backups, it is the great deal of people who want to commute from Clay county to Duval for work. 

Until we have realistic light rail and bus transportation in North Florida we will continue to have congestion.  Until the Florida cities have the infrastructure in place to move people efficiently within our cities we don't have a need to go between cities on a train.  We are too dependent on our cars to travel within our own cities.   

Under the current high-speed rail plan, please explain how people will get from the train station to their jobs?  I understand we can drive our cars to the station but what happens on the other end?  Not all jobs are going to be walking distance from the closest stop?  This underscores the need to have realistic efficient local transit before throwing endless amounts of money at connecting our Cities first.

Too many people can't see past our representatives' party affiliation to listen to the facts.   Both sides just like to attack the other's decisions.  The cost overruns argument from Scott is a legitimate one, and just because the money goes somewhere else doesn't make it bad decision for Florida.

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 11:24:01 AM
After re-reading please disregard my Blanding statement, I misunderstood what was said regarding Blanding.

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 11:43:26 AM
The cost overruns may not be legitimate.  Both the private sector and the Fed have offered to look at indemnifying the state.  He is trying to circumvent the process for fear that the lemons in the current design will be made into lemonade when it is turned over to the private developers.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 11:55:47 AM
Under the current high-speed rail plan, please explain how people will get from the train station to their jobs?  I understand we can drive our cars to the station but what happens on the other end?  Not all jobs are going to be walking distance from the closest stop?  This underscores the need to have realistic efficient local transit before throwing endless amounts of money at connecting our Cities first.

I'm glad you asked these questions.  I'll try to answer them.

1. I understand we can drive our cars to the station but what happens on the other end?  Not all jobs are going to be walking distance from the closest stop?

Like with any other transit corridor, the exact answer would depend on each station environment and final destination location desired by an individual rider.  The initial HSR line down I-4 would have a total of five stations.



Excluding walkable TOD that would eventually grow around each station location (remember infrastructure investment facilitates urban development patterns), here is how things would stack up at each location.

Downtown Tampa

The HSR station would be constructed next to the existing Marion Transit Center.  Transit users would be able to walk to downtown destinations or use a variety of local based mass transit lines already in place or expected to be in place before 2015 (the year HSR would begin operations).  Here are a few images showing existing DT Tampa streetcar and faux trolley lines, as well as Tampa's proposed BRT lines.






Lakeland

The Lakeland station site had not been officially selected when Scott pulled the plug.  City sites would have been tied in with the Citrus Connection bus system and the USF Poly site would have been located at the I-4/Polk Parkway interchange, directly adjacent to a full blown walkable university.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has the most efficient transportation system in Florida.  This station would have been tied into that, providing it with direct connections to all of Disney's theme parks, attractions, hotels, retail and residential areas.

International Drive

This station site would have been next to one of the largest convention centers in the country.  Transit connections would have been through the efficiently ran I-Ride Trolley and LYNX bus system.
www.iridetrolley.com/
www.golynx.com/

Orlando International Airport

This station would have been a part of an large intermodal terminal.  From this point, a rider could transfer at the platform to Orlando's proposed Sunrail commuter rail system to access the urban core areas of central florida's cities (Kissimmee to Deland).  For areas not adjacent to this rail spine, the LYNX bus system would also tie into the terminal.





2. This underscores the need to have realistic efficient local transit before throwing endless amounts of money at connecting our Cities first.

The information above should answer this issue of planning for realistic efficient local transit that will tie in with an intercity rail line.  These communities were working to fund a number of transit lines (both local and regional) at the same time.  It now appears that a lot of that work and effort will go to waste and set them back for a generation.  In today's changing economic climate, that's not a good thing.

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Too many people can't see past our representatives' party affiliation to listen to the facts.   Both sides just like to attack the other's decisions.

I agree.  However, this article is not an attack on or from either side.  It clearly points out that we don't exist in a vacuum by highlighting specific Jacksonville desired projects that will be negatively impacted by this decision.  Up to this point, I don't believe this has been done by any of the local media.

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The cost overruns argument from Scott is a legitimate one, and just because the money goes somewhere else doesn't make it bad decision for Florida.

The overruns argument isn't a legit one because Scott never waited for the studies he requested to be completed, allowed detailed bidding to take place or even consulted with FDOT and the professionals who have been planning these projects for decades now.  Considering he doesn't have a history in transportation planning and didn't make the effort to fully vet the issue, it appears that the decision made is clearly the political one you mentioned in your response (see below).

Quote
Too many people can't see past our representatives' party affiliation to listen to the facts.   Both sides just like to attack the other's decisions.

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 12:14:32 PM
Lakelander,

Thank you for your reply with such useful information.   

I also didn't think the article itself was an attack either, just several of the comments made sure everyone knew that Scott wasn't their guy, and for the record he isn't my guy either.  I just am sick of partisan bullshit that everyone likes to spout from both sides of the aisle.  I think any decision Scott makes or Obama for that matter is dismissed as a bad idea from partisan dolts.

Mass transit, especially rail transit needs to happen in Florida.  It just can't be an endlessly subsidized project.   

ralpho37

February 23, 2011, 01:20:11 PM
I tend to disagree with everything written in this article.  I think this is a blessing in disguise and it has the potential to help Jacksonville more than hurt it.

1)  Rick Scott seems to have a good grasp on the enormous financial burden that a high speed rail line would put on this state's budget.  Passenger rail does not generate profit.  If this thing gets built, at the first sign of funding problems, everyone would consider high speed rail a "failure" and avoid any investment in its future.  The truth is, passenger rail (let alone high speed rail) needs to be heavily subsidized by government dollars in order to remain in operation, and right now, the state simply does not have the funds to start a project like this.

2)  If the plan is to reallocate funds to improve Florida's ports, why are we complaining about this?  Jacksonville desperately needs to deepen its harbor and develop rail access in order to secure its future as one of the East Coast's most successful ports.  We're talking about cutting passenger rail projects here.  Signing a deal with CSX to directly serve JaxPort has nothing to do with high speed rail or Sunrail getting axed.  If anything, this increases the chances that the CSX-JaxPort deal gets done.

3)  Jacksonville has neither the plans nor the funding to develop a commuter rail system.  Sure, JTA's "master plan" for the future is nice, but there has been nothing to suggest in the way of funding that it will get done at all.  The idea that the Sunrail deal is a window of opportunity for Jacksonville's commuter rail future is a fantasy.  There has been no evidence whatsoever that the state is interested in starting plans for commuter rail in Jacksonville.  Their focus has been on Orlando, and the chances that they would fund 2 commuter rails (let alone 1) is borderline-ridiculous, both because the money doesn't exist and interest from JTA doesn't exist.

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 01:52:55 PM
1. both private developers and the fed have offered to indemnify the state against cost overruns.
2.  the fed will not allow be funds 2 b redirected to the ports.
3. the jacksonville mobility plan includes both commuter rail and streetcar .   

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 02:18:27 PM
I tend to disagree with everything written in this article.  I think this is a blessing in disguise and it has the potential to help Jacksonville more than hurt it.

1)  Rick Scott seems to have a good grasp on the enormous financial burden that a high speed rail line would put on this state's budget.  Passenger rail does not generate profit.  If this thing gets built, at the first sign of funding problems, everyone would consider high speed rail a "failure" and avoid any investment in its future.  The truth is, passenger rail (let alone high speed rail) needs to be heavily subsidized by government dollars in order to remain in operation, and right now, the state simply does not have the funds to start a project like this.

We need to separate the facts from ideology in this discussion.  

Ideology

The Tampa/Orlando HSR project would have financially cost the state.

Fact

The $2.4 billion for HSR is a federal stimulus grant that to be used for a shovel ready HSR project.  The remaining money needed for its construction was going to be paid by the private sector.  No state money would have been involved.  This would suggest that he doesn't have a firm grasp on this issue.

Quote
2)  If the plan is to reallocate funds to improve Florida's ports, why are we complaining about this?  Jacksonville desperately needs to deepen its harbor and develop rail access in order to secure its future as one of the East Coast's most successful ports.  We're talking about cutting passenger rail projects here.  Signing a deal with CSX to directly serve JaxPort has nothing to do with high speed rail or Sunrail getting axed.  If anything, this increases the chances that the CSX-JaxPort deal gets done.

They have everything to do with each other, but first we need to separate ideology and dreams from reality.

Ideology & Dreams

We'll reallocate the $2.4 billion to be spent on our ports and roads instead.

Scott said he would rather the federal money go into Florida's ports.

"We've got the opportunity with the expansion of the Panama Canal, the opportunity with the economies of Central and South America," he said.

The governor is not the only obstacle. "Our enemy at this point," Nelson said, "is time."

LaHood, a former Republican congressman appointed by President Barack Obama, is a staunch proponent of Florida's project but could grant only a one week reprieve. A spokeswoman for LaHood said the federal stimulus money was intended to be put to work as quickly as possible.

Already New York, California and Washington have lobbied for Florida's share.
[/color]
http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/florida-lawmakers-fight-to-keep-rail-money-gov-rick-scott-rejected/1152200

Fact

We can't reallocate money we don't have.  The $2.4 billion for HSR is a federal grant.  We've got to the 25th to decide if we will let it be spent on constructing HSR in this state or not.  If our final answer is no, the money will be reallocated to HSR projects in other states.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave Florida a week to come up with a way to salvage the high-speed train that would link Orlando with Tampa or he will send $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money elsewhere.

LaHood set the Feb. 25 deadline after meeting briefly Thursday with five Democrats from Florida in the office of Sen. Bill Nelson in Washington.

They told LaHood they might try to arrange for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, Amtrak or the Tri-Rail commuter operation in South Florida to take responsibility for the high-speed train after Gov. Rick Scott rejected the offer of the Obama administration to pay for 90 percent of the $2.7 billion project.
[/color]
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-02-17/news/os-high-speed-rail-fate-20110217_1_high-speed-train-rick-scott-lahood

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3)  Jacksonville has neither the plans nor the funding to develop a commuter rail system.  Sure, JTA's "master plan" for the future is nice, but there has been nothing to suggest in the way of funding that it will get done at all.  The idea that the Sunrail deal is a window of opportunity for Jacksonville's commuter rail future is a fantasy.  There has been no evidence whatsoever that the state is interested in starting plans for commuter rail in Jacksonville.  Their focus has been on Orlando, and the chances that they would fund 2 commuter rails (let alone 1) is borderline-ridiculous, both because the money doesn't exist and interest from JTA doesn't exist.

I don't understand how you can't see the link.  What happens to Sunrail is directly tied to Jax on several fronts.

1. The state would have to purchase the A line from CSX.  CSX is headquartered in Jax.

2. CSX has gone on the record and said, the rail related improvements they planned for Jaxport would be paid with from the profits of selling the A line to the State for Sunrail.

3. The track that Sunrail would operate on in Orlando is the same track that runs between DT Jax and Clay County.  As a part of the Sunrail deal, a significant portion of existing freight rail would be located to the S-line.  Without the freight relocation, its going to be pretty difficult to move forward with commuter rail on the A-line between DT and Clay.  All of this makes for a better argument to move forward with BRT between Riverside and Orange Park instead.

If we can't see how these things aren't related, its because we don't want to fully accept that they are.  

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 02:24:31 PM
I just am sick of partisan bullshit that everyone likes to spout from both sides of the aisle.  I think any decision Scott makes or Obama for that matter is dismissed as a bad idea from partisan dolts.

I agree.

Quote
Mass transit, especially rail transit needs to happen in Florida.  It just can't be an endlessly subsidized project.

Without subsidies or creative financing, privately funded passenger rail (alone) won't happen.  We've subsidized our roads to the point to where we put private operators out of business.  The only reason, this Florida HSR thing would be able to possible generate revenue for a private operator is because the federal government would fund just about all of it's capital costs.  The $2.4 billion pretty much makes this a real life demonstration project for a private operator to sell their product to every single HSR project this country proposes in the next couple of decades.    

BridgeTroll

February 23, 2011, 02:28:50 PM
Quote
Ideology

The Tampa/Orlando HSR project would have financially cost the state.

Fact

The $2.4 billion for HSR is a federal stimulus grant that to be used for a shovel ready HSR project.  The remaining money needed for its construction was going to be paid by the private sector.  No state money would have been involved.  This would suggest that he doesn't have a firm grasp on this issue.


On the above point... Who pays for operation and maintenance?  What are those estimated costs?

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 02:34:07 PM
The private sector operator.  I don't know what the estimated O&M costs would have been.  I suspect that would depend on who, what type of HSR system and what service frequencies would have been.  However, they never allowed the private companies who said they'd pay for it, run their own numbers and make an official bid.  This part is pretty much my entire gripe.  I still fail to see why its smart to pull the plug on the entire idea without letting rail professionals vet out the details to see if they would truly be willing to pay for O&M and assume all financial risks.

avonjax

February 23, 2011, 02:45:30 PM
The other large looming point everyone is missing here, is not the money or how this project is funded, but that this is the Republican conservative agenda. His outdated, and his anti "what's good for the people movement," is going to cost Florida thousands of jobs and progressive, positive growth. He needs to take his criminal behavior back to where he came and leave Florida alone. I never knew that NE FL was so blind they would help put this joker in office. The whole state will pay, and pay big for what is going to happen in the next 4 years. I guess 12 years of bad politics was not enough for most of Florida. When our jobless rate goes higher and we go bankrupt I guess everyone will be happy. And did anyone notice that  all our current woes only got noticed since Obama was elected? Is it just me? I wonder what the Republicans and Tea Party idiots will blame on him next?

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 02:46:55 PM
  The remaining money needed for its construction was going to be paid by the private sector.  No state money would have been involved.  This would suggest that he doesn't have a firm grasp on this issue.

Was this a guarantee?  What if the private sector did not come through, ala the Outer Beltway?  Or like the private interstate in Spartanburg/Greenville that just went bankrupt and back to the state?


1. The state would have to purchase the A line from CSX.  CSX is headquartered in Jax.

2. CSX has gone on the record and said, the rail related improvements they planned for Jaxport would be paid with from the profits of selling the A line to the State for Sunrail.

If I remember correctly CSX gets $660 Million for the purchase of the tracks and more to build a new facility, I'm sure they would say anything to make the sale.

Maybe I am being naive, but wouldn't CSX want to make improvements to increase capacity which in turn would increase profits?  I don't think the A line sale is necessary for CSX to make improvements in JAXPORT.


thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 02:47:13 PM
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel's position

Quote
Governor Scott's opposition to high-speed train makes little sense

Once again, it's doubtful that Gov. Rick Scott has made a decision that is in the state's best interest.

Last week, it was his unwise call for dumping a prescription drug database. And, on Wednesday, the governor dropped another bomb — announcing Florida would reject $2.4 billion from the federal government for a high-speed rail line linking Orlando and Tampa.

The proposed high-speed train has plenty of support. The Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida — the Sunshine State's premier business groups — both wanted it, knowing it could lead to the building of another economically simulative-if-not-transformative high-speed line planned for Orlando to Miami.

Moreover, state transportation officials had fashioned agreements where the train's private operator — not the state — would pay any cost overruns and the cost of operating and maintaining the trains for 30 years. The project would have generated an estimated 23,000 construction jobs and about another 1,000 permanent jobs needed to operate and maintain it.

Yet Gov. Scott seemed oblivious to much of this in announcing his ill-advised decision. The governor suggested Florida taxpayers could somehow end up paying cost overruns — and subsidize it because of poor ridership.

But didn't the governor know that Floridians almost certainly wouldn't have had to pay the $280 million needed to complete the project — money needed in addition to the federal government's $2.4 billion contribution — because a number of companies vying to operate the line indicated they'd assume that cost? That fact had conservative members of Congress, like John Mica, R-Winter Park, chairman of the House transportation committee, falling in line to support the Orlando-to-Tampa line.

Maybe our governor was influenced by the governors of New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin, who rejected federal funding for rail projects before Gov. Scott, and earned rave reviews from tea party enthusiasts for their efforts. No doubt they're clapping today for Gov. Scott in Eustis, Fla., where last week he unveiled his program-hacking, $66 billion budget to hundreds of tea party minions.

But Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker noted his state would have had to pay too much to operate and maintain its rail line, whereas Florida would have paid nothing for its line. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christy noted that unlike what his state was facing, Florida's deal wasn't burdensome to taxpayers.

Gov. Scott needs to do what would benefit all of Florida, not what might play well before tea party enthusiasts. Because, once again, it looks like the governor has made a decision without having a full array of facts to support it.

BOTTOM LINE: Killing high-speed train another poor choice by Gov. Scott.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/editorials/os-governor-scott-high-speed-train-ed20110217,0,7878966.story

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 02:55:55 PM
 The remaining money needed for its construction was going to be paid by the private sector.  No state money would have been involved.  This would suggest that he doesn't have a firm grasp on this issue.

Was this a guarantee?  What if the private sector did not come through, ala the Outer Beltway?  Or like the private interstate in Spartanburg/Greenville that just went bankrupt and back to the state?

This is the whole point of putting it out to bid.  If its not feasible it won't be done.  Also, the major difference in the Spartanburg/Greenville and Outer Beltway scenarios is that the federal government is funding just about all of the capital costs.  Not having to make up that $2.4 billion is a huge factor in whether this thing has a chance at being profitable, breaking even or flopping from a private financing standpoint.

Quote
If I remember correctly CSX gets $660 Million for the purchase of the tracks and more to build a new facility, I'm sure they would say anything to make the sale.

Maybe I am being naive, but wouldn't CSX want to make improvements to increase capacity which in turn would increase profits?  I don't think the A line sale is necessary for CSX to make improvements in JAXPORT.

I know JAXPORT is huge to us locally but in the grand scheme of things, its small peanuts.  Sure a company like CSX can invest in improving JAXPORT related infrastructure without the Sunrail deal.  However, there are plenty of other places where they can get a more sound ROI than worrying about Blount Island.  So, without the extra cash and now with the Hajin deal on ice, it may be awhile before they consider spending their own funds to improve JAXPORT's situation.  By the time they come around, it could be too late for JAXPORT, considering the competition isn't sitting still.

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 02:59:05 PM
Is any part of Sunrail dependent on Florida getting HSR? 

PeeJayEss

February 23, 2011, 03:01:53 PM
All for HSR, but it should go from city to city. Not from outskirts of city to random college town to suburb to theme park to outskirts of city. Its not HS if you make it stop every 20 miles. Have a station in downtown Tampa, downtown Orlando, then expand to downtown Miami and Ft Lauderdale, then Jax. Taking high speed rail from Orlando international to Disney is a waste. You don't save any time because its so short. Having the train go to the airport, also a dumb idea. Long distance rail should take people to the center of the city where they can actually do something. Saying the area around these stations will be walkable once infilling develops around them is simply a fantasy. All this plan does is take people from one parking lot to another, and it doesn't even do it that quickly because it has to stop at so many parking lots.

I want HSR, but I want it right.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 03:07:46 PM
Is any part of Sunrail dependent on Florida getting HSR?

Sunrail would have never been approved without Florida wanting to get HSR stimulus dollars at the time.  With the decision to take out HSR because of it being a bad state investment (not true, because the state wouldn't have had to pay anything), its only logical to revisit the Sunrail issue (the state bears the brunt of the costs here), if held to the same standards.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 03:11:49 PM
I want HSR, but I want it right.

Sending the $2.4 billion away gets you no where closer to your wish.  There's no alternative on the table and there won't be for years when this goes down the drain.  After all, we've been debating this exact project for the last +20 years or so. 

If you want it right, then you want it put out to bid by the private sector, in a manner that allows them to make modifications that makes it feasible to the point of where they'd risk their own funds on it.  If you're willing to wait until your grandkids have kids, then pass without an alternative plan or funding is the way to go.

PeeJayEss

February 23, 2011, 03:15:52 PM
I want HSR, but I want it right.

Sending the $2.4 billion away gets you no where closer to your wish.  There's no alternative on the table and there won't be for years when this goes down the drain.  After all, we've been debating this exact project for the last +20 years or so. 

If you want it right, then you want it put out to bid by the private sector, in a manner that allows them to make modifications that makes it feasible to the point of where they'd risk their own funds on it.  If you're willing to wait until your grandkids have kids, then pass without an alternative plan or funding is the way to go.

I agree. However, even if we passed completely right now, I don't think we'd have to wait until our "grandkids have kids." These rail projects are only going to get more attractive as the price of oil goes up. I, for one, welcome that.

stephendare

February 23, 2011, 03:24:37 PM
I tend to disagree with everything written in this article.  I think this is a blessing in disguise and it has the potential to help Jacksonville more than hurt it.

1)  Rick Scott seems to have a good grasp on the enormous financial burden that a high speed rail line would put on this state's budget.  Passenger rail does not generate profit.  If this thing gets built, at the first sign of funding problems, everyone would consider high speed rail a "failure" and avoid any investment in its future.  The truth is, passenger rail (let alone high speed rail) needs to be heavily subsidized by government dollars in order to remain in operation, and right now, the state simply does not have the funds to start a project like this.

Ralph, what seems to be the disconnect here?  Rail costs hundreds of billions of dollars less than Highway construction and maintenance.  It tends to create economic opportunity, and is partially subisidized by the passengers which is completely different from Highways which are totally tax dependent and are subsidized by all of us.  The burden on the state'd budget is not from rail, but the billions we spend annually on highway and highway infrastructure.  We cannot stop over spending on highways until we start choosing the far less expensive rail alternative.

2)  If the plan is to reallocate funds to improve Florida's ports, why are we complaining about this?  Jacksonville desperately needs to deepen its harbor and develop rail access in order to secure its future as one of the East Coast's most successful ports.  We're talking about cutting passenger rail projects here.  Signing a deal with CSX to directly serve JaxPort has nothing to do with high speed rail or Sunrail getting axed.  If anything, this increases the chances that the CSX-JaxPort deal gets done.

There is not a plan to reallocate funds from rail to ports.  This is a nonexistent possibility. In any case, cutting the highway budget would be a better source of funds to make the port improvements.

3)  Jacksonville has neither the plans nor the funding to develop a commuter rail system.  Sure, JTA's "master plan" for the future is nice, but there has been nothing to suggest in the way of funding that it will get done at all.  The idea that the Sunrail deal is a window of opportunity for Jacksonville's commuter rail future is a fantasy.  There has been no evidence whatsoever that the state is interested in starting plans for commuter rail in Jacksonville.  Their focus has been on Orlando, and the chances that they would fund 2 commuter rails (let alone 1) is borderline-ridiculous, both because the money doesn't exist and interest from JTA doesn't exist.

There are more of us at metrojacksonville than there are at JTA.  What we want, if we work for it together, we can get.  The JTA serves us, not the other way around, and if they cannot learn that then it is up to us to do something about it.  There most certainly is a workable rail plan for Jacksonville, its not that hard, the town was originally built by rail, in case you dont realize.  You seriously must not have been reading MetroJacksonville for very long if you are under the impression that any of this

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 03:25:27 PM
The line of work I'm involved in forces me to view things from a financial status, as well as from an idealistic standpoint.  The price of oil has risen before and it didn't result in anything.  In addition, you don't want to be caught totally dependent on a single mode when you finally realize that economic collapse is directly upon you.  Planning and funding major projects takes time (umm.. decades).  For example, during the time we've discussed HSR in this state, I've seen people have kids and their kids have kids and today we're no further along than we were in the 80s.  I've also seen cities like Charlotte make their needed investments and rise from nothing into an elite status (leaving a place like Jax in the dust) during the same time period.  Just remember, we're already behind the eight ball, other places have gotten their act together and are moving forward.  The more we delay (without factual data telling us its the right thing to do), the more we fall behind.

Dashing Dan

February 23, 2011, 03:28:24 PM
Thanks for the article.  Whether or not Florida gets on board with rail, let's make the most of our existing transit services and facilities here in Jacksonville.  We have an extensive bus system that needs more more riders.  A policy for complete streets would help a lot, and the marginal costs for that would be quite modest.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 03:37:06 PM
I agree.  Realistically, with the fallout at state level, this is going to be Jax's only short term solution.  Unfortunately, outside of the skyway, we won't be able to take advantage of the economic development and connectivity fixed transit brings to urban communities and their revitalization efforts.

dougskiles

February 23, 2011, 03:51:23 PM
I agree.  Realistically, with the fallout at state level, this is going to be Jax's only short term solution.  Unfortunately, outside of the skyway, we won't be able to take advantage of the economic development and connectivity fixed transit brings to urban communities and their revitalization efforts.

I agree, but I disagree, too.  The political scene is a pendulum.  Recently it has swung to the right.  And the farther right it goes before it stops, the more momentum there will be to keep it swinging left.

I see no reason why we can't extend the skyway and implement a streetcar system without state and federal help.  In fact, I was talking to one of JTA's brightest and he told me the process would move much faster if we do these things without federal help because we won't have to go through the mind-numbing process of studying the feasibility - over and over again until someone decides to pull the plug.

I also believe that commuter rail will come.  I talk to a lot of people on a regular basis - who live in the suburbs.  All of them like the idea of being able to ride a train to downtown.  Once we get enough people excited about it, the politicians will start to listen.  These things have to start at the bottom and work their way up - not the other way around.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 04:05:04 PM
1. It is a pendulum.  Over the last couple of years, if swung to the left.  Now, its beginning to swing to the right.  The key to taking advantage of anything is to have plans in place to be able to implement them when the political climate swings in a certain direction.  So, far we've mastered blowing opportunities when they present themselves.  When you strike out, you may catch the next pendulum, but you're probably looking at that being 5 years to a decade away.

2. The local will or money isn't there to extend the skyway anytime soon.  To do so, will have to involve public/private partnerships.  Not saying this can't be done, but you're back on that 5 year to decade period of putting all the details together to make such a project a reality.  If the mobility plan comes into effect, there will be money to get an initial streetcar line off the ground.  But again, you're looking 5 to 10 years before being able to hop on it.  Reducing that time period, is going to have to require a change in local mentality.

3. Commuter rail will eventually come also.  However, you're still going to have to overcome the financial challenge of pulling it off.  Again, you're looking at a good decade if everything falls into place.

Thus, short term, the easiest and most cost efficient thing to do is to work to improve and better take advantage of what's already in place.

dougskiles

February 23, 2011, 04:14:37 PM
Thus, short term, the easiest and most cost efficient thing to do is to work to improve and better take advantage of what's already in place.

Absolutely!  And I believe that should always be part of the plan for improvement.

There is no reason we can't continue to work behind the scenes and gain support from both the private and public entities.  As fuel costs rise, our job will get easier.  Before you know it, the opponents to transit will look around and realize that most of their support base has been eroded.

Keep the faith!

Mattius92

February 23, 2011, 04:20:35 PM
If the SunRail gets cut I am personally going to make sure Rick Scott doesn't get-reelected into office, because we could live with HSR, but the SunRail is an excellent idea, and if that falls then yep Jacksonville is screwed too. I have been Republican/Conservative for my whole life, but this right here is a plain glimpse of stupid.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 04:25:07 PM
Keep the faith!

I will.  However, I have to point out how issues like this in other communities can have a negative impact on our own.  Thus, when the next opportunity knocks, we'll make an attempt to get off the couch and open the door.

TheGeo35

February 23, 2011, 04:45:18 PM
I think that in the coming years Florida will stagnate without commuter and high speed rail. It's too bad that the federal funding dollars will go to some other state like New York to build their infrastructure while we will continue to be living like it's the 1950s. Please check out my response to Governor Scott's decision on TheGeo35 channel on YouTube.

FSBlue

February 23, 2011, 05:37:38 PM
I totally disagree with what this article is saying. High Speed Rail isn't the future in any sense. The 2.4 billion the government would've offered wouldn't have totally covered the cost. While some here are saying that the contractor would have covered these costs, that was never said and would have never happened. With the amount of lobbyists that have been in Tallahassee recently, had one told Scott they would've absorbed all the overruns, don't you think he would've given his stamp on it?

Nevermind that the proposed costs come somewhere from fantasy land. California is currently projecting the 1st segment of their new high speed rail will cost $67.8 million per mile while the proposed line between Orlando and Tampa was projected at $32.1 million. The estimate was made using a best case scenario. If the real costs came close to California's level, that means an extra $3 billion the state would have to cover.

Also, the ridership levels of 2.4 million have to be pulled out of thin air. Amtrax's best line, which goes between Boston to DC, carries approximately 3.5 million pay customers per year. The cities that line hits have more than 8 times the combined population of O-Town and Tampa.

dougskiles

February 23, 2011, 05:51:17 PM
With the amount of lobbyists that have been in Tallahassee recently, had one told Scott they would've absorbed all the overruns, don't you think he would've given his stamp on it?

Based on everything he has done since he took office, NO, I don't think he would have given his stamp on it.  He has made a string of unusual decisions (like selling state property improperly).  What has been mostly questioned on this site is why he didn't even give the private contractors a chance?  There was no reason evident, other than some personal political motiviation, why he would not let the process play itself out.  At any time up until contract award, he could have pulled the plug.  That is what has so many of his own party members upset with him.

avonjax

February 23, 2011, 07:14:53 PM
FSBlue...You are exactly why we may never get rail in Florida. And yes we will be left way behind. Keep in mind everytime there is a glitch on the other side of the world, oil prices skyrocket. Today a barrel of oil is almost 100 bucks. Prices this week reflect that change. Why? Unrest in Africa. The rising cost of transportation will kill the middle class once and for all. All we ever do is talk and wait for a better plan. Look around downtown Jax and see what that has resulted in. The city that Florida has left behind. Now Scott is doing the same thing our city leaders have been doing. NOTHING! It's now time to act. Not decades from now. This was a horrible decision, by a person who was playing follow the leader in the game of which Republican governor can kiss the butt of their constituents. Recovery be damned....

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 07:55:00 PM
He clearly killed it now out of fear that the problems he presented were being resolved.  If you believe this project is viable or not now is a disingenuous time to scuttle it.  Less than a month until the private proposals and modifications are allowed to be presented. No matter what your position on the project is you can tell the timing is political. (and it seems bad politics as well judging by the political heat he is taking even from the conservative and business sectors).

tufsu1

February 23, 2011, 08:26:14 PM
I totally disagree with what this article is saying. High Speed Rail isn't the future in any sense. The 2.4 billion the government would've offered wouldn't have totally covered the cost. While some here are saying that the contractor would have covered these costs, that was never said and would have never happened. With the amount of lobbyists that have been in Tallahassee recently, had one told Scott they would've absorbed all the overruns, don't you think he would've given his stamp on it?

Nevermind that the proposed costs come somewhere from fantasy land. California is currently projecting the 1st segment of their new high speed rail will cost $67.8 million per mile while the proposed line between Orlando and Tampa was projected at $32.1 million. The estimate was made using a best case scenario. If the real costs came close to California's level, that means an extra $3 billion the state would have to cover.

Also, the ridership levels of 2.4 million have to be pulled out of thin air. Amtrax's best line, which goes between Boston to DC, carries approximately 3.5 million pay customers per year. The cities that line hits have more than 8 times the combined population of O-Town and Tampa.

ok...let me try to explain (and provide the facts)

1. FDOT has been working closely with the private sector throughout this process....8 teams of firms have expressed interest...and they are keenly aware of the requirements that they take on the remaining costs, any overruns, and operating risks for 30 years....the main reason they are interested is the team selected for the Tampa-Orlando route has the first option on the Orlando-Miami route (where the real $ will be made)....below is a link listing the 8 teams...and a link to the overall procurement site...check it out

http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/storage/interested-firms/HighSpeedRailTeams_111210.pdf

http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/procurement-contracting

2. The main reason FL costs are so much lower is the ROW already exists.

3. the FL HSR ridership estimates are for 3 million per year....Acela trains in the northeast gets about the same...then add another 7 million riding regular Amtrak trains and another 2 million riding commuter rail on the same corridor...total of 12 million....btw, TriRail in South Florida gets close to 6 million riders a year.

Bottom line, if the Governor had allowed the process to conitnue, FDOYT would have requested bids from qualified teams...those teams in turn would have done their own ridership and revenue studies in order to make a bid and get the necessary financing...if the numbers didn't add up, they wouldn't submit and then the project would die (like the Outer Beltway).

JeffreyS

February 23, 2011, 08:28:19 PM
For the newbie ROW is right of way.

tayana42

February 23, 2011, 08:31:51 PM
Lakelander, thanks for a superb presentation and detailed explanation.  We could only hope that Rick Scott will actually read it.
If he did and set politics aside, I would expect him to reverse his decision.  Unfortunately, Scott has stated that he doesn't read any Florida newspapers and I assume that includes any Florida blogs. 

My cynicism grows by the day.  Still, let's keep trying to make this world (and city) better.

FayeforCure

February 23, 2011, 08:57:09 PM
Great article. I cant believe that Gov. Scott is for real with this. I've sent my e-mails but I feel like this guy could care less about the other 49% who didn't vote for him.

Correction: 75% of Floridians DID NOT vote for Rick Scott.

As only 50% of Floridians bothered to vote and of those only half voted for him ie 25% of Floridans including all the "destroy government" Tea Party vying for descent into uncivilized society.

I have never understood people who hate government that join government simply to destroy government. They are actually the ultimate welfare queens that are bringing down our government while they themselves enjoy government sponsored healthcare.

tufsu1

February 23, 2011, 09:07:39 PM
For the newbie ROW is right of way.

oops...sorry...my bad

FayeforCure

February 23, 2011, 09:27:14 PM
I agree.  Realistically, with the fallout at state level, this is going to be Jax's only short term solution.  Unfortunately, outside of the skyway, we won't be able to take advantage of the economic development and connectivity fixed transit brings to urban communities and their revitalization efforts.

I agree, but I disagree, too.  The political scene is a pendulum.  Recently it has swung to the right.  And the farther right it goes before it stops, the more momentum there will be to keep it swinging left.


Unfortunately the pendulum has been swinging to the right for the past three decades........it all started with those Reagan Dems voting Republican and has continued ever since under the skillfull guidance of front groups like the Heritage Foundation, Reason, Cato, Freedom Works, Americans for Prosperity etc that are lavishly funded by the Koch Brothers, who are OIL BILLIONAIRES.

Move-On has been just a recent counterforce, I think since 2004, but with Mudoch owning most mainstream media outlets, the left has been screwed for 3 decades.

Ocklawaha

February 23, 2011, 09:28:46 PM
I'm still witnessing a LEMMING STAMPEDE! We'll get a free train and YIPPIEEEE!

BULL SHIT!  READ SOME OF THE CRAP IN THE STUDIES... The proponents of this thing have a much larger agenda then Florida or High Speed Rail, pure old fashioned greed? Likely. So even when some of the most level headed people at the Tampa Tribune start writing about it, out roll the fantasy numbers, and unadulterated lies that this project is built on.


Quote
Florida's future economic growth and success are integrally tied to the transportation and land-use decisions that we make today. We should be looking for opportunities to expand and enhance long-term options that help make communities sustainable and protect and enhance the natural and built environments of Florida. Florida's high-speed rail would have accomplished this for the state, the Central Florida region and the local communities served by the rail.

It would? By what? Not serving the corridor it is advertised as serving? By not connecting to the Orlando Metro? By having an airport and two amusement park stations in the Orlando end of the line, but NONE in the central urbanized area? That this goofy plan will create a "sustainable community" and enhance the "natural and built environments" when it doesn't connect so much as a MICKEY D'S to anyplace anyone would, or could afford to live.

You have to love the line "Florida's High Speed Rail would have accomplished this for the state, the Central Florida Region and the local communities." It would build forested park land, create widget factories out of swamps, and save swamps for widget factory workers children's children. It will cause apple pie, and red, white, and blue bunting to decorate community bandstands, and American's everywhere will shed a tear of pride when they think of FLORIDA and it's HIGH SPEED TRAIN. ...And the BS just keeps getting worse and worse, sooner or later these fools are going to convince themselves or someone else to build the damn thing and THAT'S when the real fun will began. Dateline ABC NEWS - 2019, "What if they built a railroad and nobody came to ride?" Yeah, that ought to help our bottom line here in Jacksonville.

Quote
Using the generally accepted cost estimate of $10 million/lane mile, the $285 million funding gap of concern to Scott roughly equates to less than 30 lane miles of roadway construction. It should also be noted that as I-4 was widened over the last decade, additional right-of-way was acquired to allow rail to run in the wide median.

So rail is cheaper to build then highways, and has a higher capacity, which proves that if a railroad ran from an airport to a theme park to a bus transfer... In other words, if the project were planned to really do the things they keep saying it will magically do, it would have a real shot at success, but ignoring Floridians in a system that is supposed to lift Florida to the next level is irresponsible in the 10th degree.

Quote
In the overall context of Florida's future, the potential of the high-speed rail project to positively impact the economic linkages within the Tampa-Orlando mega-region, act as a catalyst for altering the fabric of community development by diversifying transportation options and provide a "green" alternative to the ever-growing I-4 corridor congestion, seems, in my view, to be more valuable in comparison. Anyone familiar with I-4 will agree that traffic congestion and commute time will continue to increase each year. The addition of more traffic lanes is not the solution Florida needs.

How is it going to "positively impact" anything when it doesn't provide transportation for the community? A green alternative? Do the math, a train an hour each way, plus every 30 minutes between OIA and MICKEY, and if 160 passengers a day ride?

Anyone familiar with I-4 WOULD AGREE that traffic congestion and commute times will continue to increase and that more traffic lanes are not the  solution. What does this have to do with Florida High Speed Rail? We've already seen that it will not TOUCH the I-4 commute, or even the Orlando Metropolitan Area, so holding this up as an example of the way to go is criminally misleading.


Quote
The 2060 Florida Transportation Plan, completed by the Florida Department of Transportation in December, clearly recognizes Florida cannot continue to rely on the roadway network to meet our future mobility needs. There are few choices for moving people or freight between many of Florida's regions today and, if current trends continue, most urban and interregional highway corridors will likely be heavily congested during peak periods by 2035, even after planned investments are made. This scenario is one that will not likely attract new businesses and industry which bring needed jobs to the state.

Here we go again with more spin. We can't rely on our roadway network, so build the train, build the train, build the train...even though the train will NOT serve to relieve the roadway network. To meet the needs of moving people AND FREIGHT? Actually giving this line to CSX to move Intermodal trailers to Port Tampa might be the best use for it, because otherwise, IT WILL NEVER CARRY FREIGHT. New business and jobs will indeed stay away from congested urban corridors so we need to come up with a REALISTIC RAIL SOLUTION because this ain't it. Meanwhile, just keep talking about how much relief it will provide, how many jobs it will create, what a glowing picture of Florida it will project...ignore all of the fantasy and spin. Check back in 30 years and see what a reputation a weed grown piece of track running past boarded up stations in the middle of nowhere has done for us.

Quote
A statewide passenger-rail system and enhanced transit systems in Florida's major urban areas are a significant part of the solution.

...Fantasy again, THIS IS NOT A STATE WIDE ANYTHING and even it's proponents admit that the Miami leg is speculative. A true Statewide Passenger Rail Network such as AMTRAK CALIFORNIA, or THE CASCADE CORRIDOR would do a thousand times more for us then this boondoggle.

Commuter Rail in Jacksonville? That will be much more tied to our port then to anything CSX can hock in Orlando, that "A" line is NOWHERE NEAR CAPACITY and would hardly notice a commuter rail start. JAXPORT with Federal Assistance, and the former Federal Ports Director, and CSX, a multi-billion dollar railroad will survive and grow just fine, with or without Mickeys Flying Train.


OCKLAWAHA

FayeforCure

February 23, 2011, 09:36:25 PM
I want HSR, but I want it right.

Sending the $2.4 billion away gets you no where closer to your wish.  There's no alternative on the table and there won't be for years when this goes down the drain.  After all, we've been debating this exact project for the last +20 years or so. 

If you want it right, then you want it put out to bid by the private sector, in a manner that allows them to make modifications that makes it feasible to the point of where they'd risk their own funds on it.  If you're willing to wait until your grandkids have kids, then pass without an alternative plan or funding is the way to go.

+1

Sums it up quite nicely!!
Really what does the state of Florida have to loose? There are only positives from a major infrastructure investment that won't cost the state anything, and Floridians gain at least 50,000 jobs.

Even the operating expenses for the next 20 years will be borne by the private entity that will be bidding on the project!!!

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 10:02:51 PM
Quote
Really what does the state of Florida have to loose?

Evidently, a fear that a private company would actually be willing to put their money in and make a go of it.

Ocklawaha

February 23, 2011, 10:28:38 PM



Even the operating expenses for the next 20 years will be borne by the private entity that will be bidding on the project!!!

They say they are going to ask, or "require" bidders to cover 100% of the operating expenses, but unless someone has some inside information, nobody has laid a contract on the table that says, "We might be stupid, but shazam, we'll cover your costs..." Worse still, even if someone does do that, there is not a chance in hell if this thing doesn't meet the unbelievable and fantastic lofty goals that it's supporters have lavished on us, any one of these companies will simply bail, or go bankrupt. It's an old railroad trick, today's CSX RAILROAD can easily be tomorrows CSX RAILWAY...debit free. When that happens, guess who gets the abandoned stations, and a railroad to nowhere? Rick has it right (as much as I hate like hell to admit that...)

Oh and one of those rascals filling the governors head with all of this "reality check" data on the current edition of Florida High Speed Rail? Guess who?


Quote
Really what does the state of Florida have to loose?

Evidently, a fear that a private company would actually be willing to put their money in and make a go of it.

It's not what Florida has to lose that concerns me, its the damage that this failure will have on future High Speed Rail Projects and Amtrak alike. Private enterprise will simply say we got hoodwinked by Florida's slippery politicians, file suit and/or bankruptcy and be gone.

But a dead railroad will be a scar on the land, the state and the industry for decades to come. Most of us agree that it's a really bad plan for a railroad that is going to have any effect, Scott has dumped that plan, which could be the biggest blessing passenger rail has ever gotten from a Republican.

STAND FIRM, do it right or don't do it at all... and Doc and his HSR buddies, quit pissing on our legs and telling us it's raining.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 10:38:34 PM
An editorial from Doc's wife, Sen. Paula Dockery:

Quote
Letters: Misinformation clouds high-speed rail issue

The proposed high-speed rail project from Orlando to Tampa would offer a transportation alternative to millions of Florida residents and the 35 million travelers who fly in and out of the Orlando International Airport each year. Much misinformation exists regarding the project. The arguments being made against it are not fact-based.

Argument: Capital cost overruns could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

Fact: The private sector would pay for any cost overruns. This would be a legally binding agreement, with no risk to the taxpayers.

Argument: Ridership and revenue projections are historically overly optimistic, and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur, which could cost from $300 million to $575 million over 10 years.

Fact: The private sector would assume all ridership revenue risk.

Argument: If the project became too costly for taxpayers and was shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds.

Fact: The private sector would assume all risk for long-term operations and maintenance. The U.S. Department of Transportation would oversee the financial viability of the private contractors and would hold them responsible, not the state.

These facts are from the Florida Department of Transportation, a nonpolitical entity. If government officials or citizens choose to oppose high-speed rail, that opposition should be based on accurate information.

The U.S. is far behind the rest of the world in transportation innovation. For Florida, this spells opportunity. We can evaluate the cutting-edge systems of high-speed rail and select the very best for us. Let's not miss the opportunity to be a part of an innovative transportation solution that would create 23,000 direct jobs, including a permanent facility at Orlando International Airport and a manufacturing and assembly facility along the 81-mile corridor. On behalf of Florida's 18 million residents, we must make fact-based decisions.

SEN. PAULA DOCKERY

Lakeland

Editor's note: Paula Dockery represents Florida's 15th Senate District.
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/letters/letters-misinformation-clouds-high-speed-rail-issue-1276636.html?cxtype=rss_letters

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 10:45:54 PM
Quote
But a dead railroad will be a scar on the land, the state and the industry for decades to come. Most of us agree that it's a really bad plan for a railroad that is going to have any effect, Scott has dumped that plan, which could be the biggest blessing passenger rail has ever gotten from a Republican.

STAND FIRM, do it right or don't do it at all...

This is where we disagree.  I believe it's salvageable enough to allow the bidding process to take place to get some real answers (that could validate either side of the argument) before pulling the plug on $2.4 billion in federal funding.  You do yourself a huge disservice guesstimating and making final decisions without solid facts with that much money on the line.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 10:51:41 PM
With one day left before the deadline, here is the latest:

Quote
Gov. Rick Scott's office, federal officials talking high-speed rail; Scott unmoved

TALLAHASSEE — Federal transportation officials have spent the past two days talking with Gov. Rick Scott's office in hopes of salvaging a high-speed rail project linking Tampa and Orlando.

But Scott remains convinced that no deal can be structured to remove all financial risk to the state.

"Nothing in the discussions so far alleviates the governor's concerns that Florida's state taxpayers would still be on the hook," spokesman Brian Hughes said.

U.S. Department of Transportation officials began discussions with the staff in Scott's office on Tuesday and they continued Wednesday.

Also involved is Tampa City Attorney Chip Fletcher and possibly other local officials.

Quote
"Right now we have gone as far as we can," said Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, declining to go into details about the state of talks because the parties have agreed not to reveal them at this time. "We have to await an answer until we know what's next."

Fields said the basic template of governments along the rail line teaming up to accept federal money for high-speed rail hasn't changed.

Scott and other critics think there is no way to alleviate the risk to the state. The state Transportation Department would have to provide technical assistance and grant the right of away along the project route.

Some think Scott acted prematurely, and another Republican questioned Wednesday why the governor did not wait to see bids from private companies.

Quote
Meanwhile, state transportation officials are still waiting on the results of a ridership study on the proposed line, due in early March. Scott has doubted that enough people would use the rail system to justify its cost.

full article: http://www.tampabay.com/news/transportation/masstransit/article1153377.ece

Ocklawaha

February 23, 2011, 11:03:49 PM
An editorial from Doc's wife, Sen. Paula Dockery:

Quote
Letters: Misinformation clouds high-speed rail issue

The proposed high-speed rail project from Orlando to Tampa would offer a transportation alternative to millions of Florida residents and the 35 million travelers who fly in and out of the Orlando International Airport each year. Much misinformation exists regarding the project. The arguments being made against it are not fact-based.

Argument: Capital cost overruns could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

Fact: The private sector would pay for any cost overruns. This would be a legally binding agreement, with no risk to the taxpayers.

Argument: Ridership and revenue projections are historically overly optimistic, and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur, which could cost from $300 million to $575 million over 10 years.

Fact: The private sector would assume all ridership revenue risk.

Argument: If the project became too costly for taxpayers and was shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds.

Fact: The private sector would assume all risk for long-term operations and maintenance. The U.S. Department of Transportation would oversee the financial viability of the private contractors and would hold them responsible, not the state.

These facts are from the Florida Department of Transportation, a nonpolitical entity. If government officials or citizens choose to oppose high-speed rail, that opposition should be based on accurate information.

The U.S. is far behind the rest of the world in transportation innovation. For Florida, this spells opportunity. We can evaluate the cutting-edge systems of high-speed rail and select the very best for us. Let's not miss the opportunity to be a part of an innovative transportation solution that would create 23,000 direct jobs, including a permanent facility at Orlando International Airport and a manufacturing and assembly facility along the 81-mile corridor. On behalf of Florida's 18 million residents, we must make fact-based decisions.

SEN. PAULA DOCKERY

Lakeland

Editor's note: Paula Dockery represents Florida's 15th Senate District.
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/letters/letters-misinformation-clouds-high-speed-rail-issue-1276636.html?cxtype=rss_letters

He's an insurance salesman, and she is a politician, and I should believe her why? When the CEO of TALGO or BOMBARDIER or ABB or SNCF or ? steps up to the mike and says "WE WILL PAY FOR THIS THING." Then we have a promise, and after they say it, we have no assurances.

As is it is just too risky for the industry as a whole, to hell with Florida, it's the RAIL PASSENGER INDUSTRY that will take the dive if this thing goes down. It will be even worse if we have 10 or 12 lawsuits flying around the state, abandoned track, boarded stations, no riders, and a huge amount of cash flushed down the toilet.

It's extremely simple from my (old railroad guy) point of view. You don't go to a cornfield to get coal, you don't go to a pizza hut to get surgery, and you don't go down a freeway or to airports create a railroad system. Pass by the freeway or airport and I'll agree with the concept, make it the core of the system, and I won't.

By all appearances any private company is still going to have to go with the "State approved route," and if that is the case, this thing is hopelessly doomed.


OCKLAWAHA

Gators312

February 23, 2011, 11:39:14 PM
The private sector would pay for any cost overruns. This would be a legally binding agreement, with no risk to the taxpayers.

This statement to me is the scariest.  This is something that can not be guaranteed.  Do the politicians think we are that stupid?  It's like the statement about jobs "saved."  It's really not quantifiable, but sounds great when making an argument for the position.

As mentioned above, what stops these private companies from declaring bankruptcy to absolve their liability? 

It's really no different than the Home Builders throughout Florida who filed bankruptcy to run from litigation regarding unfinished developments, chinese drywall, etc.  Make lots and lots of money and then when it runs out, bail out with a bankruptcy. 

Florida needs to be progressive when it comes to mass transit in our state, but to build a project just for the sake of doing so to say we have HSR is shortsighted.

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 11:39:47 PM
Quote
It's extremely simple from my (old railroad guy) point of view. You don't go to a cornfield to get coal, you don't go to a pizza hut to get surgery, and you don't go down a freeway or to airports create a railroad system. Pass by the freeway or airport and I'll agree with the concept, make it the core of the system, and I won't.

For a rail "system", I'd agree but this is a small segment of a much larger integrated plan.  Speaking of which, Chicago's El is a local system that utilizes significant portions of freeway medians yet still attracts high ridership due to the integration of transportation and land use.  The New Mexico Railrunner also has a significant stretch running in a freeway median between that State's two major cities.  

Knowing my home area's traffic patterns, I believe the thing's feasibility would dramatically improve by using the infrastructure for a duel purpose (express & local) and fully integrating it with future surrounding land uses. Nevertheless, the major thing is I have no problem putting the thing out to bid and letting a Talgo or Amtrak say its not feasible, causing it to die on facts instead of opinionated fears and worst case scenario nightmares.  This option, which actually works with the federal government's wishes, would also put us in better position to land federal dollars (in the short term) for other projects we deem important (ex. Amtrak/FEC, commuter rail, etc.).  

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 11:41:23 PM
The private sector would pay for any cost overruns. This would be a legally binding agreement, with no risk to the taxpayers.

This statement to me is the scariest.  This is something that can not be guaranteed.  Do the politicians think we are that stupid?  It's like the statement about jobs "saved."  It's really not quantifiable, but sounds great when making an argument for the position.

As mentioned above, what stops these private companies from declaring bankruptcy to absolve their liability?  

It's really no different than the Home Builders throughout Florida who filed bankruptcy to run from litigation regarding unfinished developments, chinese drywall, etc.  Make lots and lots of money and then when it runs out, bail out with a bankruptcy.  

Florida needs to be progressive when it comes to mass transit in our state, but to build a project just for the sake of doing so to say we have HSR is shortsighted.

Progressive is putting it out to bid and finding out what actual numbers and answers are to concerns before pulling the plug.  Once you have your answers and they don't resolve your fears, move on.  What's the harm in that?

Btw, what is the estimated O&M and how does it compare with the O&M of maintaining a bridge like the Matthews or an expressway like the Outer Beltway?  Just trying to get a hold on these "risks" that some are so scared of to the point that they don't even want to get actual answers from professionals on the subject.

Ocklawaha

February 23, 2011, 11:43:10 PM
Quote
Letters: Misinformation clouds high-speed rail issue

The proposed high-speed rail project from Orlando to Tampa would offer a transportation alternative to millions of Florida residents and the 35 million travelers who fly in and out of the Orlando International Airport each year. Much misinformation exists regarding the project.

AGAIN, it offers NOTHING for FLORIDA RESIDENTS, that statement alone is intentionally misleading, and I think the Dockery's know it.

The arguments being made against it are not fact-based.

Your facts didn't withstand closer review by a table full of railroaders at the FRA HSR meeting in Orlando. Rail would be a God-Send for Florida, and the FLORIDA EAST COAST PROJECT as is SUNRAIL are great examples of rail projects that will exceed all expectations. The Orlando-Tampa project, as long as it remains in the I-4 right-of-way, and refuses to serve centrally located urban railroad stations with connections, is doomed to fail.

Quote
Argument: Capital cost overruns could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.

Fact: The private sector would pay for any cost overruns. This would be a legally binding agreement, with no risk to the taxpayers.

Which is only as good as the paper it's written on. When mega-corporations start losing money, they exit fast, and just based on the stuff I have seen in the documents, they could tie us in legal knots for years.
Quote
Argument: Ridership and revenue projections are historically overly optimistic, and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur, which could cost from $300 million to $575 million over 10 years.

Fact: The private sector would assume all ridership revenue risk.

Oh really? WHO? and WHEN? and HOW MUCH? And if they cut and run, then what? Will you go on TV and tell us how those mean industrialists fooled you Paula?

Quote
Argument: If the project became too costly for taxpayers and was shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds.

Fact: The private sector would assume all risk for long-term operations and maintenance. The U.S. Department of Transportation would oversee the financial viability of the private contractors and would hold them responsible, not the state.

BIG DEAL, so it gets shut down, boarded up, grows up in weeds, the private contractors have left the continent and UNCLE SAM get's a train set, albeit slightly broken and basically worthless.

Quote
These facts are from the Florida Department of Transportation, a nonpolitical entity. If government officials or citizens choose to oppose high-speed rail, that opposition should be based on accurate information.

And if Politicians want to play trains, they should first play their facts against all possible scenarios and quit promising a rose garden when this thing is fought full of unknowns.

Quote
The U.S. is far behind the rest of the world in transportation innovation. For Florida, this spells opportunity. We can evaluate the cutting-edge systems of high-speed rail and select the very best for us.

I would agree if we proposed putting it someplace where it might work.

Quote
Let's not miss the opportunity to be a part of an innovative transportation solution that would create 23,000 direct jobs, including a permanent facility at Orlando International Airport and a manufacturing and assembly facility along the 81-mile corridor.

Speculation will get you everywhere? We have no idea how many jobs (hard numbers) would be created, any more then we know it will carry more people then the Northeast Corridor (which it won't). A permanent facility at the Orlando International Airport? Isn't that where people are forced to go (as a former resident of Orlando, we all know how much that trip is loved) to catch a plane? Let's not compound that error by making it the place to catch a train too. Lastly? What manufacturing and assembly facility? Who announced it? When? Where?

I know rail will work in Florida, but its going to need to be a hybrid of AMTRAK-SUNRAIL and TRIRAIL, with reasonably fast, conventional or tilting trains, along conventional railroads. Those tracks have been in place over 100 years for a good reason - THEY GO WHERE WE FLORIDIANS LIVE! Invest just a fraction of this amount of money in a splendid intra-state rail system, one that reaches the people, and we might indeed eliminate the need for more lanes on I-4...

But Palula? This isn't it.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 23, 2011, 11:46:19 PM
^That hybrid is still the plan. However, some of it may be about to die with HSR (ex. FEC/Amtrak, Sunrail, etc.).  This is another reason not to make an abrupt decision without first evaluating the facts on all of these projects and how they relate to one another before making a final judgement on any one in particular.

mtraininjax

February 24, 2011, 06:01:54 AM
Is it the 25th yet?

PeeJayEss

February 24, 2011, 09:20:23 AM
I know you say approve it now and let the plan be changed, but seriously, if this thing goes to the airport, etc and not to city centers, its going to aid in killing downtowns (which we're going to need in future).

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 09:27:29 AM
It hits DT Tampa in the heart. It connects with intermodal terminal at Orlando's airport. That terminal will also have Sunrail, a rail line that will take you directly into DT Orlando, if that's your desired destination. Saying that the Tampa/Orlando segment of HSR will kill those city's downtown's is another unproven claim. The high number of unproven claims is further evidence that it would be wise to allow the project to go to bid.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 09:44:38 AM
I know you say approve it now and let the plan be changed, but seriously, if this thing goes to the airport, etc and not to city centers, its going to aid in killing downtowns (which we're going to need in future).

Not approve it now rather don't kill it yet.  Let it go to bid that is the only way to know what the final bill will be to decide upon.

I would like to thank the conservative groups, business groups and conservative politicians in our state rallying against the Governor and putting the State's future first ahead of Tea Party politics.

PeeJayEss

February 24, 2011, 10:54:57 AM
It hits DT Tampa in the heart. It connects with intermodal terminal at Orlando's airport. That terminal will also have Sunrail, a rail line that will take you directly into DT Orlando, if that's your desired destination. Saying that the Tampa/Orlando segment of HSR will kill those city's downtown's is another unproven claim. The high number of unproven claims is further evidence that it would be wise to allow the project to go to bid.

Please. Its a tourist train to get from NY to Disney without getting in a car. DT Orlando should be the hub. You can hop on Sunrail to get to the airport, not the other way around. And talk about unproven claims? Sunrail does not exist. You'll take HSR to the airport and not be able to go anywhere but on a flight.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 11:01:48 AM
yeah we don't want tourists in florida . and who wants to get to the airport to take a plane?

PeeJayEss

February 24, 2011, 11:27:17 AM
yeah we don't want tourists in florida . and who wants to get to the airport to take a plane?

Well, maybe if you want to get to the Orlando airport from Tampa! But if you're in Orlando, this won't help you get to the airport. I didn't say we don't want tourists so don't be ridiculous. All I said was this train (as designed) is serving only tourists, not the people of Orlando. From Orlando, you have to drive to the airport to take a plane or a train to Tampa with this plan.

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 11:37:47 AM
It hits DT Tampa in the heart. It connects with intermodal terminal at Orlando's airport. That terminal will also have Sunrail, a rail line that will take you directly into DT Orlando, if that's your desired destination. Saying that the Tampa/Orlando segment of HSR will kill those city's downtown's is another unproven claim. The high number of unproven claims is further evidence that it would be wise to allow the project to go to bid.

Please. Its a tourist train to get from NY to Disney without getting in a car. DT Orlando should be the hub. You can hop on Sunrail to get to the airport, not the other way around. And talk about unproven claims? Sunrail does not exist. You'll take HSR to the airport and not be able to go anywhere but on a flight.

Neither exists, however Sunrail will exist if HSR happens.  You can't plan in a vacuum.  All of these projects complement each other so you have to account for an entire network instead of railing against a single segment because it doesn't fit your ideology in how things should be if we were kings for a day.  People may not like the mouse but its foolish to not attempt to tie in it and Orlando's airport with any type of mass transit investment.  

Btw, what do you all think about Secaucus Station in New Jersey?  It is a huge passenger rail hub that misses all of New Jersey's urban centers (ex. Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, etc.).  Its not even at an airport that happens to be the country's 13th largest with 36 million passengers (most who aren't headed to DT Orlando) coming through its facilities on an annual basis.  Its next to a Meadowlands I-95 interchange in the middle of a suburban industrial park.



Is it killing the urban core areas of the NYC metropolitan area?

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 11:41:27 AM
yeah we don't want tourists in florida . and who wants to get to the airport to take a plane?

Well, maybe if you want to get to the Orlando airport from Tampa! But if you're in Orlando, this won't help you get to the airport. I didn't say we don't want tourists so don't be ridiculous. All I said was this train (as designed) is serving only tourists, not the people of Orlando. From Orlando, you have to drive to the airport to take a plane or a train to Tampa with this plan.

Living in Orlando and taking HSR to get to Orlando's airport isn't the purpose of intercity HSR.  If you don't want to drive your car, then a local transit option (Sunrail, local bus) should be your desired option.  On the other hand, if you lived in Orlando and wanted to go to Miami, it would make all the sense in the world to drive to your local HSR station, regardless of where its location is in the metro area.

PeeJayEss

February 24, 2011, 12:01:30 PM
Btw, what do you all think about Secaucus Station in New Jersey?  It is a huge passenger rail hub that misses all of New Jersey's urban centers (ex. Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, etc.).  Its not even at an airport that happens to be the country's 13th largest with 36 million passengers (most who aren't headed to DT Orlando) coming through its facilities on an annual basis.  Its next to a Meadowlands I-95 interchange in the middle of a suburban industrial park.

Is it killing the urban core areas of the NYC metropolitan area?

I'll give you industrial park, but nothing around there fits the description of suburban. I do think its a dumb station location, and it was built not because of design considerations, but because Frank Lautenberg pushed for it. That said, its not a valid comparison. It is a regional rail stop and transfer station, not for inter-city travel. Its not an Amtrak hub - these all connect at Penn Station or Union Station in the heart of Manhattan. So, if you want to use NYC as a comparison, yea, I think locating major intercity rail hubs in the center of downtown is a pretty good idea. You want people to live downtown, then it has to actually be the center of the city (all roads lead to downtown kinda thing)

CS Foltz

February 24, 2011, 12:49:41 PM
Well, since the Gov doesn't read any papers, other than maybe the New York Post, I can understand his lack of expertise and knowledge! I still wonder where the 700k jobs are going to come from?

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 01:10:54 PM
Btw, what do you all think about Secaucus Station in New Jersey?  It is a huge passenger rail hub that misses all of New Jersey's urban centers (ex. Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, etc.).  Its not even at an airport that happens to be the country's 13th largest with 36 million passengers (most who aren't headed to DT Orlando) coming through its facilities on an annual basis.  Its next to a Meadowlands I-95 interchange in the middle of a suburban industrial park.

Is it killing the urban core areas of the NYC metropolitan area?

I'll give you industrial park, but nothing around there fits the description of suburban.

Spread out land uses, poor connectivity, pedestrian hostile environment, autocentric sprawling development pattern.  All of these suburban characteristics are present in that particular location.

Quote
I do think its a dumb station location, and it was built not because of design considerations, but because Frank Lautenberg pushed for it. That said, its not a valid comparison. It is a regional rail stop and transfer station, not for inter-city travel. Its not an Amtrak hub - these all connect at Penn Station or Union Station in the heart of Manhattan. So, if you want to use NYC as a comparison, yea, I think locating major intercity rail hubs in the center of downtown is a pretty good idea. You want people to live downtown, then it has to actually be the center of the city (all roads lead to downtown kinda thing)

The apples to apples comparison is that it is a small piece of a much larger interconnected network.  It does just fine for what it was designed to do, which is allow riders to transfer to other trains to access various destinations in the NE.  It doesn't make or break any of that region's urban cores and neither will a rail stop at MCO destroy any of Orlando's.  Besides, if its going to be empty, as claimed, then it should have absolutely no impact on pulling people away from downtown Orlando, Winter Park or any other core area in Central Florida. 

Nevertheless, this entire discussion is based on opinions.  All of this is more reason to allow the thing to be vetted by actual professionals who are considering putting their own cash into the project.  If deemed viable, it will go forward.  If not, it won't.  With this in mind, I still don't see what the fear is in allowing the bidding process to take place.

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 01:12:52 PM
Anyway, its all over. This email just came in at my office:

Quote
Subject: It's Now "Officially Now"

So you will know, just minutes ago, all negotiations have concluded…

…and the Governor, very shortly, will announce…

…there will be no High Speed Rail for Florida.

In spite of my overwhelming disappointment, I am very proud our combined efforts.
For sure, we did the right thing advancing this Regional Priority of the Central Florida Partnership…
…working together for a better community, working with others for a more competitive state, and, too, working in support of a stronger country.
We’ll talk more about this latter; but, right now, I wanted you to know of this forthcoming announcement.
 
Jacob V. Stuart
President
Central Florida Partnership

PeeJayEss

February 24, 2011, 01:27:06 PM
Nevertheless, this entire discussion is based on opinions.  All of this is more reason to allow the thing to be vetted by actual professionals who are considering putting their own cash into the project.  If deemed viable, it will go forward.  If not, it won't.  With this in mind, I still don't see what the fear is in allowing the bidding process to take place.

I am (was) all for putting it out there and getting ideas for it. I just wanted to point out that I think it could be better.

urbaknight

February 24, 2011, 01:30:09 PM
Well, hopefully we can boot Scott's crooked ass out during the next election. UGG, three more years!

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 01:31:25 PM
PeeJayEss,

I agree, but its now officially dead, so its time to move on and prepare for the next off-the-wall decision coming out of Tallahassee these days.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 01:44:58 PM
no it is not time to move on lake ,we have to continue to shine the light on what is crooked decision this was . too many people believe that nonsensethat he claims about this project. and we have to continue to tell the truth if we want that to change .

FayeforCure

February 24, 2011, 02:15:40 PM
Well, hopefully we can boot Scott's crooked ass out during the next election. UGG, three more years!

Urbaknight, with what he's already done I wouldn't be surprised if he'll be the first recalled Florida governor ever. That is if the Republican legislature will allow the option of recall to be law in the state of Florida like it is in 18 other states.

BTW the option of recall is already law for local officials, just not yet for state officials.

Quote
Kriseman files legislation for recall  

 
Article published on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011    Print  E-Mail   Share
  
State Representative Rick Kriseman
 
 
State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) announced Wednesday afternoon that he was filing legislation to create a provision to recall state officials.

According to a press release, Kriseman’s legislation would allow the public to recall state legislators, members of the cabinet, governor and lieutenant governor.

“Engaged citizens deserve the tools to hold their public servants accountable without having to wait for the next election,” Kriseman said. “Honest and dedicated elected officials will have nothing to fear from the implementation of this important proposal, and I am confident that my colleagues will support its passage.”

If the legislature approves Kriseman’s resolution, voters would get to decide the final fate of the measure during the November 2012 election.

House Joint Resolution 785 would allow the public to recall a state official by petition. It would require that signatures be collected in all 67 Florida counties. The signatures would need to equal 15 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for office.

To recall a member the house or senate, signatures totaling 20 percent of the total votes in the last election would be required.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states now permit the recall of state officials.

Kriseman service Florida House District 53, which includes parts of Pinellas County.  
Article published on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

http://www.tbnweekly.com/front_page/content_articles/021611_fpg-02.txt


Quote
Is It Time to Recall Rick Scott?

Less than two months into the job, Gov. Rick Scott is already facing a proposed bill that would allow Florida voters to recall him.

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Rick Scott came into the governor’s office without having ever governed. Not even a term on a school board. He never even had to get folks to reach consensus in a precinct.

Scott’s main qualification to be governor was that he was CEO of an HMO found guilty of the worst case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history.

He’s such a newbie that he doesn’t grasp the most fundamental concept about governing: Politics is the art of compromise.

Academics Donald J. Boudreaux and Dwight H. Lee, writing for no less a conservative voice than the Cato Institute, can explain: “Regardless of the terms employed, few doubt that politics is indeed the art of compromise. Politicians unwilling to compromise are typically labeled ideologues — a label not regarded as a badge of honor among members of the political class. Moreover, politicians who refuse to compromise seldom win and hold on to office …”

Being CEO, on the other hand, is the art of applying force and pressure.

Running a company is nothing like running a state.

And that’s becoming clearer with each passing day of Scott’s term.


and here are the multiple reasons for this:

Quote
His budget, presented to a tea party rally as if the rest of the state didn’t matter, pushed corporate tax cuts onto the backs of teachers, county and state workers, and correctional officers. Maybe if those correctional officers had contributed $100,000 at his inauguration, which was a dolled-up fundraiser for him and the Florida Republican Party, things might have been different. But instead, it was the Geo Group — which runs private prisons and employs Scott’s close chum, Bill Rubin, as its lobbyist – handing out the checks. And surprise, one of the first targets of Scott’s decimation of the state infrastructure was … the state prison system.

Scott campaigned against the hiring of state lobbyists, then hired state lobbyists.  The difference, he explained, was that these were his lobbyists. He threw state Sen. Paula Dockery, one of his earliest political supporters, under the political bus (or train) by rejecting $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that she had been working on for years. That decision reportedly occurred after he met with tea partiers in his office.

Hey, appeasing those loyal tea partiers by making an anti-Obama statement comes before political loyalty — or creating upwards of 20,000 Florida jobs.

It is as if we suddenly have en emperor in Tallahassee, issuing policy by decree.

That might be the way to run a corporation. But it’s no way to run a state.


And some final thoughts on the recall effort:

Quote
Citizens have now formed a Facebook group to advocate his recall. This after less than two months in office. But they should probably speak with Rep. Rick Kriseman first.

Last week, Kriseman introduced a bill that would allow the recall of state officials.

I know what you’re thinking: Scary that we don’t already have that right.

Yep. It’s past time. Thank you, Rep. Kriseman.

HB 787 should be automatic, considering the legislature is controlled by Republicans, who often tout accountability as a cornerstone of their party.

We’ll soon see whether for them (and their tea party supporters), accountability only applies to teachers and welfare recipients. Or whether it’s for all Floridians, regardless of position, pocketbook or political persuasion.


http://fcir.org/2011/02/22/is-it-time-to-recall-rick-scott/

And here is how it would work to recall a governor in Florida if Floridians appreciated accountability:

Quote
Florida voters can currently remove local officials through a recall process, but state officials can only be removed by the legislature or the governor.

"It struck me as wrong," Kriseman said. "I thought the people deserve the power to do that, because you cannot count, unfortunately, on the legislature to self-govern itself all the time."

Eighteen other states allow voters to recall statewide officials through petition, then ballot, but only two governors have ever been recalled. California governor Gray Davis was successfully recalled in 2003 and North Dakota governor Lynn Frazier was successfully recalled in 1921.

Kriseman's proposal would still make it very difficult for voters to recall an office-holder. Getting a gubernatorial recall put on the ballot, for instance, would require a fifth as many signatures as people that voted in the last election. That would be more than 1 million signatures. Then, a majority of voters statewide would still have to vote to remove the governor.


http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=175582&catid=8

urbaknight

February 24, 2011, 02:18:15 PM
Well, hopefully we can boot Scott's crooked ass out during the next election. UGG, three more years!

Urbaknight, with what he's already done I wouldn't be surprised if he'll be the first recalled Florida governor ever. That is if the Republican legislature will allow the option of recall to be law in the state of Florida like it is in 18 other states.

BTW the option of recall is already law for local officials, just not yet for state officials.

Quote
Kriseman files legislation for recall 

 
Article published on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011    Print  E-Mail   Share
 
There's a recall law for local leaders?! YEE HAA!!! What are we waiting for then, let's start cleaning house!!!
 
 
 
 
 
State Representative Rick Kriseman
 
 
 
State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) announced Wednesday afternoon that he was filing legislation to create a provision to recall state officials.

According to a press release, Kriseman’s legislation would allow the public to recall state legislators, members of the cabinet, governor and lieutenant governor.

[b]“Engaged citizens deserve the tools to hold their public servants accountable without having to wait for the next election,” [/b] Kriseman said. “Honest and dedicated elected officials will have nothing to fear from the implementation of this important proposal, and I am confident that my colleagues will support its passage.”

If the legislature approves Kriseman’s resolution, voters would get to decide the final fate of the measure during the November 2012 election.

House Joint Resolution 785 would allow the public to recall a state official by petition. It would require that signatures be collected in all 67 Florida counties. The signatures would need to equal 15 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for office.

To recall a member the house or senate, signatures totaling 20 percent of the total votes in the last election would be required.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states now permit the recall of state officials.

Kriseman service Florida House District 53, which includes parts of Pinellas County. 
Article published on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

http://www.tbnweekly.com/front_page/content_articles/021611_fpg-02.txt


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Less than two months into the job, Gov. Rick Scott is already facing a proposed bill that would allow Florida voters to recall him.

Less than two months into the job, Gov. Rick Scott is already facing a proposed bill that would allow Florida voters to recall him. (Photo courtesy of Rick Scott.)


By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Rick Scott came into the governor’s office without having ever governed. Not even a term on a school board. He never even had to get folks to reach consensus in a precinct.

Scott’s main qualification to be governor was that he was CEO of an HMO found guilty of the worst case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history.

He’s such a newbie that he doesn’t grasp the most fundamental concept about governing: Politics is the art of compromise.

Academics Donald J. Boudreaux and Dwight H. Lee, writing for no less a conservative voice than the Cato Institute, can explain: “Regardless of the terms employed, few doubt that politics is indeed the art of compromise. Politicians unwilling to compromise are typically labeled ideologues — a label not regarded as a badge of honor among members of the political class. Moreover, politicians who refuse to compromise seldom win and hold on to office …”

Being CEO, on the other hand, is the art of applying force and pressure.

Running a company is nothing like running a state.

And that’s becoming clearer with each passing day of Scott’s term.


and here are the multiple reasons for this:

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His budget, presented to a tea party rally as if the rest of the state didn’t matter, pushed corporate tax cuts onto the backs of teachers, county and state workers, and correctional officers. Maybe if those correctional officers had contributed $100,000 at his inauguration, which was a dolled-up fundraiser for him and the Florida Republican Party, things might have been different. But instead, it was the Geo Group — which runs private prisons and employs Scott’s close chum, Bill Rubin, as its lobbyist – handing out the checks. And surprise, one of the first targets of Scott’s decimation of the state infrastructure was … the state prison system.

Scott campaigned against the hiring of state lobbyists, then hired state lobbyists.  The difference, he explained, was that these were his lobbyists. He threw state Sen. Paula Dockery, one of his earliest political supporters, under the political bus (or train) by rejecting $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that she had been working on for years. That decision reportedly occurred after he met with tea partiers in his office.

Hey, appeasing those loyal tea partiers by making an anti-Obama statement comes before political loyalty — or creating upwards of 20,000 Florida jobs.

It is as if we suddenly have en emperor in Tallahassee, issuing policy by decree.

That might be the way to run a corporation. But it’s no way to run a state.


And some final thoughts on the recall effort:

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Citizens have now formed a Facebook group to advocate his recall. This after less than two months in office. But they should probably speak with Rep. Rick Kriseman first.

Last week, Kriseman introduced a bill that would allow the recall of state officials.

I know what you’re thinking: Scary that we don’t already have that right.

Yep. It’s past time. Thank you, Rep. Kriseman.

HB 787 should be automatic, considering the legislature is controlled by Republicans, who often tout accountability as a cornerstone of their party.

We’ll soon see whether for them (and their tea party supporters), accountability only applies to teachers and welfare recipients. Or whether it’s for all Floridians, regardless of position, pocketbook or political persuasion.


http://fcir.org/2011/02/22/is-it-time-to-recall-rick-scott/

And here is how it would work to recall a governor in Florida if Floridians appreciated accountability:

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Florida voters can currently remove local officials through a recall process, but state officials can only be removed by the legislature or the governor.

"It struck me as wrong," Kriseman said. "I thought the people deserve the power to do that, because you cannot count, unfortunately, on the legislature to self-govern itself all the time."

Eighteen other states allow voters to recall statewide officials through petition, then ballot, but only two governors have ever been recalled. California governor Gray Davis was successfully recalled in 2003 and North Dakota governor Lynn Frazier was successfully recalled in 1921.

Kriseman's proposal would still make it very difficult for voters to recall an office-holder. Getting a gubernatorial recall put on the ballot, for instance, would require a fifth as many signatures as people that voted in the last election. That would be more than 1 million signatures. Then, a majority of voters statewide would still have to vote to remove the governor.


http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=175582&catid=8

Jumpinjack

February 24, 2011, 02:49:20 PM
I enjoy reading your thoughts but please cut down on the long quotes and quotes within quotes. Thanks.

tufsu1

February 24, 2011, 02:50:29 PM
More info. here

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gov-rick-scott-is-done-with-high-speed-rail/1153594

btw...in case anyone wants to read what the local government-regional enity proposal said, here it is

http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2011/PDFs/HSR%20Proposal%20Term%20Sheet%202-23-11_1.pdf

If Scott killed this deal, what makes anyone think he will allow FECX/Amtrak, SunRail, or even commuter rail here in Jax. happen?

FayeforCure

February 24, 2011, 03:12:15 PM
More info. here

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gov-rick-scott-is-done-with-high-speed-rail/1153594

btw...in case anyone wants to read what the local government-regional enity proposal said, here it is

http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2011/PDFs/HSR%20Proposal%20Term%20Sheet%202-23-11_1.pdf

If Scott killed this deal, what makes anyone think he will allow FECX/Amtrak, SunRail, or even commuter rail here in Jax. happen?

All of which DO indeed require state monies whereas HSR did NOT require state monies ( even though Scott LIED about the state "being on the hook").

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 03:20:36 PM
If Scott killed this deal, what makes anyone think he will allow FECX/Amtrak, SunRail, or even commuter rail here in Jax. happen?

To be honest, without 100% local money or a public(all local)/private partnership, I don't see any major rail projects in Florida making a significant move forward during Scott's term.  This mode of transit simply does not align with his or the Reason Foundation's ideology.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 03:25:36 PM
In the spirit of "when there is blood on the street buy real estate" Now is the time for Jax to find a way to invest in Streetcar (Riverside, Downtown and maybe a bit at the Beach).  We are connected to the plans for SEHSR so lets make ourselves attractive.  People and businesses were excited by the prospect of fixed transit in central Florida let's make ourselves attractive to them as well.  FEC has even commented in the past about running passenger/ commuter trains streetcar distribution system and skyway would help that prospect. Jax was caught with it's shorts down when Obama came into office and all we had looked at were buses.  If we had a local plan in place that could have been funded he would have funded it.

tufsu1

February 24, 2011, 03:48:16 PM
Jax was caught with it's shorts down when Obama came into office and all we had looked at were buses.  If we had a local plan in place that could have been funded he would have funded it.

Most transit plans work like this:

50% Federal match
25% State match
25% Local match

What makes you think the state will pony up any money?

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 03:53:23 PM
I don't we will need to see creative .

fsujax

February 24, 2011, 04:21:32 PM
If we want any of this we have to do it without the State. it is just that simple. The real question becomes how bad do the citizens of our region want commuter rail, HSR, streetcars, etc.

http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=533013

FayeforCure

February 24, 2011, 05:10:11 PM
Here is an interesting survey:

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According to a recent Rockefeller Foundation survey, 80 percent of those polled agree that federal investment to improve and modernize transportation "will boost local economies and create millions of jobs from construction to engineering."  

Why does Florida persist in staying behind the times? Is our only claim to fame fantasy land Disney?

Quote
Florida Governor Scott Puts Short-Sighted Partisan Politics Above Peoples' Transportation Needs and Job Creation

Scott's ridership math is misleading and uninformed. He attempts to justify his ridership skepticism by saying that "only" 3.2 million people ride the Northeast's Acela trains, but ignores the other 7.6 million passengers who take the slower, but less expensive, Northeast Regional trains in the same corridor. Together, these trains serve more passengers than all airlines combined in these markets.

Scott has cost us thousands of jobs and billions in economic development at a time when people are hurting. He has prioritized scoring partisan political points against the President over gaining job creation and better transportation options for many people. The American public deserves better, especially in these challenging times.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-learner/florida-governor-scott-pu_b_824892.html

NE US region doesn't even resemble touristy Central Florida. I'm all for crude comparisons where more accurate data are absent, but this is so over the top........that I'm surprised anybody takes Scott serious.

ralpho37

February 24, 2011, 05:45:15 PM
@ Lakelander:  If you want to "separate ideology from dreams," then let's do so...

1)  The Florida HSR Project is NOT a shovel-ready project.
2)  As for reallocating funds, I'm not sure the idea is to reallocate HSR funds to ports; as you aptly noted, we can't reallocate funds we don't have.  The idea is to invest state money into ports.  I'm not entirely sure what is meant by the feds and private sector indemnifying the state for cost overruns.  The question is not if cost overruns happen, it's when they will happen.  High speed rail is not a sustainable investment in the private sector.  No private investor in their right mind would invest in passenger rail.
3)  If you think CSX is giving Jacksonville special attention or treatment just because their headquarters is located here, that's laughable.  CSX has always had a large presence in the Jacksonville area, and they are moving forward in their negotiations with the city despite the current HSR-Sunrail ordeals.  I agree with you that they did, in fact, state that they would fund a port connection with money made from selling the A-line.  However, if the line doesn't get sold, the line will still be built as long as they can cut a deal with the city to do so.

stephendare

February 24, 2011, 05:47:09 PM
@ Lakelander:  If you want to "separate ideology from dreams," then let's do so...

1)  The Florida HSR Project is NOT a shovel-ready project.
2)  As for reallocating funds, I'm not sure the idea is to reallocate HSR funds to ports; as you aptly noted, we can't reallocate funds we don't have.  The idea is to invest state money into ports.  I'm not entirely sure what is meant by the feds and private sector indemnifying the state for cost overruns.  The question is not if cost overruns happen, it's when they will happen.  High speed rail is not a sustainable investment in the private sector.  No private investor in their right mind would invest in passenger rail.
3)  If you think CSX is giving Jacksonville special attention or treatment just because their headquarters is located here, that's laughable.  CSX has always had a large presence in the Jacksonville area, and they are moving forward in their negotiations with the city despite the current HSR-Sunrail ordeals.  I agree with you that they did, in fact, state that they would fund a port connection with money made from selling the A-line.  However, if the line doesn't get sold, the line will still be built as long as they can cut a deal with the city to do so.

Private Passenger rail built and developed this country, Ralph.  It was basically nationalized by nixon

ralpho37

February 24, 2011, 06:13:30 PM
I couldn't agree with you more Stephen.  But that was in a different era, when overhead and operating costs were nothing compared to today.  That's why beginning in the 1950's, the nation's railroads began to eliminate their passenger service.  That's why Amtrak exists: because the railroads could not financially justify keeping passenger operations around.  Amtrak is a government-run operation, without government funding, it would not exist.  If you look at any major passenger rail operation (high speed or otherwise) around the world, you will find that they are heavily subsidized by their respective government.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 06:15:05 PM
As all major transportation is.

Lunican

February 24, 2011, 06:24:23 PM
It wasn't costs that killed the passenger train; it was their government funded competition.

ralpho37

February 24, 2011, 06:35:27 PM
If you're speaking of interstate highways, then yes that was a major reason as to why ridership declined, but to say "it wasn't costs" is untrue.  Declining ridership + high costs killed passenger rail.  But regardless, the fact is that modern-day passenger rail has to compete with airlines and highways, rendering it unprofitable (even more so than back then).

thelakelander

February 24, 2011, 09:00:16 PM
@ Lakelander:  If you want to "separate ideology from dreams," then let's do so...

1)  The Florida HSR Project is NOT a shovel-ready project.

Where do you get this from?  It was shovel-ready according to the federal government's standards.  If it were not, it never would have received the $2.4 billion.

Quote
2)  As for reallocating funds, I'm not sure the idea is to reallocate HSR funds to ports; as you aptly noted, we can't reallocate funds we don't have.  The idea is to invest state money into ports.  I'm not entirely sure what is meant by the feds and private sector indemnifying the state for cost overruns.  The question is not if cost overruns happen, it's when they will happen.  High speed rail is not a sustainable investment in the private sector.  No private investor in their right mind would invest in passenger rail.

Your entire statement here is nothing but opinion.  No company was even giving a chance to put together a bid, cost or ridership estimate for their product.  So how can you come to a conclusion on anything when the bidding process was never allowed to happen?  If a vetting process by the private sector was allowed to take place, we could have found out what was opinion and fact.

Quote
3)  If you think CSX is giving Jacksonville special attention or treatment just because their headquarters is located here, that's laughable.  CSX has always had a large presence in the Jacksonville area, and they are moving forward in their negotiations with the city despite the current HSR-Sunrail ordeals.  I agree with you that they did, in fact, state that they would fund a port connection with money made from selling the A-line.  However, if the line doesn't get sold, the line will still be built as long as they can cut a deal with the city to do so.

It is laughable. Especially since I never implied such a statement.  In fact, I said just the opposite, in regards to JAXPORT.  JAXPORT is big for us locally, but its peanuts on a national wide level, thus not a major priority of CSX.  Combined with the fact that the city doesn't have any money, don't count on any major financial deals being set anytime soon.  Thus, don't be surprised if any real port investment doesn't happen fast enough to keep the competition from getting the jump on us.

JeffreyS

February 24, 2011, 09:14:20 PM
But if Sunrail happens CSX has committed part of those proceeds to meeting Jaxport's needs.

stephendare

February 24, 2011, 10:42:55 PM
I couldn't agree with you more Stephen.  But that was in a different era, when overhead and operating costs were nothing compared to today.  That's why beginning in the 1950's, the nation's railroads began to eliminate their passenger service.  That's why Amtrak exists: because the railroads could not financially justify keeping passenger operations around.  Amtrak is a government-run operation, without government funding, it would not exist.  If you look at any major passenger rail operation (high speed or otherwise) around the world, you will find that they are heavily subsidized by their respective government.

Actually there was a war on the unions, and it wasnt that the passenger trains werent profitable, they werent profitable enough.

As the train companies consolidated and merged, the smaller groups of management preferred to concentrate on the higher profit freight operations.  It didnt help that the pullman's unions were also largely black.

So as a larger raillroad acquired all the trackage of a smaller passenger service, they wanted to convert the tracks over to freight.

At the time, gasoline was dirt cheap, and the eisenhower administration was keen on building the interstate system.  Plus the major auto companies had already bought out and bankrupted major portions of the network of transit long beforehand.

So it wasnt a question of how 'things were different' then.

They werent, things still work the same, the only difference is that you had a national group of people and factors whose interests were served by the destruction of passenger rail.

But the very last, least true reasons is that 'it couldn't make a profit'.

Well my friend, highways don't make any money at all.

tufsu1

February 24, 2011, 10:49:50 PM
But if Sunrail happens CSX has committed part of those proceeds to meeting Jaxport's needs.

sadly this will be next on the chopping block...unless of course the Governor is a straight up hypocrite!

Ocklawaha

February 24, 2011, 10:50:37 PM









ALL PHOTOS - JACKSONVILLE


Scott has singled out the ports and highways for "investment," from the beginning, and said he would not "subsidize rail." To break this down to the battles I've fought for 45 years here is a crash course in Republican-Tea Party-Conservative Speak:

TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENT = Anything spent on highways, airports, and sea or river ports...
TRANSPORTATION SUBSIDY = Anything spent on rail except in the rare case where it benefits a major political   platform supporting industry, or highway, air, sea and river. In no case will this EVER involve passengers.

JAXPORT = We elected (JACKSONVILLE) are largely responsible for electing Scott, he owes us and our pocket pissing Republican-Tea Party-Conservative leadership. Watch for Scott to "make nice" and toss us a bone that will assist, along with Federal Monies AND remember MICA told us at MJ that Jaxport was slated to become a "SUPER PORT":

The critical Mile-Point curve in the river.
The Intermodal Rail Facility
and perhaps even the CSX cut-off...

BTW, since everyone is SO CONCERNED about our rail situation, let me explain that the CSX cut-off AS PLANNED will do immediate damage to railroad employment and our local railroad infrastructure in Jacksonville. It will have the effect that all of the Port Switching now done by CSX from their MONCRIEF and EXPORT YARDS, will shift to WAYCROSS!

The way to fix that is for the CITY OF JACKSONVILLE (as if we had a brain) to push for the JAXPORT rail link to run straight west from the current connection with the CSX on North Main Street, over and around the northwest section of the city, to link with CSX and with the NORFOLK SOUTHERN over which the FLORIDA EAST COAST has operating rights... ONE LINK - JOINTLY PORT-CITY-RAILROAD OWNED - 3 NEW CONNECTIONS.





Sharp eyes might note I penned in a small spur into the Airport Free Trade Zone which would make this line even more valuable to the City and possibly bring in another state agency JAA to help finance the build.


OCKLAWAHA

dougskiles

February 25, 2011, 07:39:12 AM
If we want any of this we have to do it without the State. it is just that simple. The real question becomes how bad do the citizens of our region want commuter rail, HSR, streetcars, etc.

http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=533013

Great article, fsujax.  Is there any chance that Georgia gets the $2.4 billion from the feds?  Where are they at in the plan for HSR?

thelakelander

February 25, 2011, 07:46:31 AM
Georgia's HSR is decades away from being reality. Our money will be going to the shovel ready projects (CA, NY, IL).

Ocklawaha

February 25, 2011, 11:39:10 PM
Georgia's HSR is decades away from being reality. Our money will be going to the shovel ready projects (CA, NY, IL).


SWEET!

It is only part of the HSR because there are sections of track that could be easily rated at 90 mph. IN FACT the track from our current Amtrak Station all the way to Folkston GA. is absolutely able to handle 110 mph trains - been there - done that.

What LaHood is trying to do is crack open the corridor to conventional trains once again, and I'd be willing to bet he has an eye on the FEC RY - AMTRAK deal, meaning that the FEC RY'S planned two trains each way daily will either become 4 each way, or perhaps 1 more daily each way between Tampa-Orlando-JAX, and Miami-Daytona-Jax.

In either case look for suddenly getting the JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL FUNDING up and running quickly, the FRA and USDOT via the FTA will see to it that we can handle the additional trains, and the only place to do that is DOWNTOWN.

Also watch for a huge increase in AMTRAK JACKSONVILLE, because depending on how these trains are routed, then toss in a possible Los Angeles-New Orleans-Jax restoration, and your morning arrivals and departures will start to get interesting. THINK JOBS.

Jacksonville, FL (ET)
ARRIVALS FROM NEW YORK - SOUTHBOUND....................6:55a.....9:53a
ARRIVAL FROM NEW ORLEANS - TERMINATING............................10:00a
ARRIVALS FROM ATLANTA - SOUTHBOUND.....................6:45a......................4:00p

DEPARTURES TO MIAMI - SOUTHBOUND.........................7:10a.....10:25a.......4:15p
DEPARTURES TO ORLANDO/TAMPA - SOUTHBOUND..........7:15a......10:30a

So if you can read the sample timetable (read down) you can see we'd be switching NY cars into a MIAMI and a TAMPA/ORLANDO train, and switching ATLANTA cars into the same MIAMI and ORLANDO/TAMPA trains.
In the next column we're switching NY cars into a MIAMI and a ORLANDO/TAMPA train and switching cars from LOS ANGELES and NEW ORLEANS into the same two southbound departures.

In the other direction, somewhere around dinner time, we'd be doing the reverse and sending these trains back.

We would go from 2 movements daily to over 20... I spell that JOBS.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 26, 2011, 02:05:53 AM
Let's cut to the chase. What's your timeline and cost for all the things in your post above to become reality? Also do you believe the majority of the $2.4 billion will be redirected to this?  I'm willing to place a gentlemen's bet that any rail connection between us and Atlanta is still more than a decade away from happening and that most of the $2.4 billion will go to CA, NY and the Midwest.
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