Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Florida East Coast Industries Proposes Miami To Orlando Rail Line

Despite the State of Florida’s determination that high speed passenger rail travel to Orlando’s resorts would be a bad investment, private interests in the state are preparing to pour a billion dollars into development of passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami. Florida East Coast Industries just announced that it intends to offer rail travel between Miami and Orlando within the next two years, using 200 miles of existing track between Miami and Cocoa, and building new tracks from Cocoa to Orlando.

Florida East Coast spokesperson Christine Barney says the company expects its All Aboard Florida project to have station stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. “There are 50 million people who travel between Orlando and Miami each year,” she said in announcing FEC’s All Aboard Florida plans. “And they’re mainly traveling on very congested highways. Obviously, if the Orlando to Miami routs is a success, we’ll look to expand.” Jacksonville Transportation Authority Executive Director Michael Blaylock is hoping his city is going to be included in that expansion. “I think all options are on the table,” Blaylock says. “But I can see a day when we have Amtrak, a private rail company and high speed rail all operating out of the Prime Osborn Convention Center.” He’s hoping for passenger rail operations to develop on CSX tracks from Jacksonville to Yulee and Green Cove Springs, and on FEC tracks to St. Augustine.

Christine Barney of FEC says the Miami to Orlando route should attract tourists as well as business people who don’t want to drive. FEC expects to invest $1 billion in the project, creating 6,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs once the rail service begins. Travel times on the rail route are expected eventually to approximately equal the six hour driving time from Miami to Jacksonville.

blog comments powered by Disqus