Trains For America

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Florida lawmakers’ feet to the fire on commuter and high speed rail

Jane Healey has an extensive and well-considered opinion piece concerning legislative actions that hold both commuter and HSR projects hostage. It is a bit of complex local politics, but here is the good part.

As with the other stimulus projects, these need to be “shovel-ready.” And Florida’s high-speed rail is indeed that. After voters approved it in 2000, $30 million was spent on planning and routes.

Jane Healy Jane Healy E-mail | Recent columns

Unlike many of the other projects competing for the money, it could be up and running quickly, particularly since the lengthy environmental studies already are done. And, remember, these dollars are all federal. Local and state taxpayers wouldn’t have to put up anything to get this going.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

2 Responses

  1. Rafael says:

    @ Jane Healey –

    hate to burst your bubble here, but NEPA requires re-evaluation of the EIR/EIS documents if the last approval was more than 3 years ago. Moreover, Florida voters pulled the plug on HSR before FRA rendered a Decision of Record, so the NEPA process was not completed the first time around.

    http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/uploaddocuments/FHSRA%20WRKSHP%20SLIDES%204-1-09.pdf

    It is true that the stimulus bill ($8b for HSR) allows the federal share to be up to 100%, for the $1.5b in HR 110.2095 the limit is 80%. However, it stands to reason that USDOT will give priority to projects that can be implemented quickly and with (the) state(s) putting some skin in the game. Ergo, while a Florida bullet train system could become eligible fairly quickly, it would likely face stiff competition from California, where voters have approved $9.95 billion in new state debt obligations to build their system.

  2. […] Florida lawmakers’ feet to the fire on commuter and high speed … […]

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