Here is an article from the Sunday news reflecting what might be best described as wishful thinking. You cannot blame the Boston Globe for it’s “us versus them” logic. Nonetheless, they raise some good points.
Spending even one dime of federal HSR money in Florida is something of a stretch. It benefits only Mickey and Minnie (and Goofy too!) but the Orlando-=Tampa link will never have the connectivity necessary in a real system. It is conceivable that this train, if it is ever operational, might take some pressure off the crowded highway. Otherwise, Florida hates trains.
California and Illinois are more likely to become HSR success stories. Remember that Chicago-St. Louis is about the same distance as Paris-London. The northeast corridor needs vast improvements, and has received substantial federal contributions over the years.
What is less well understood is the role Amtrak plays in places where trains will never operate over 115 mph. Many sections of the country do not need the very expensive European-style 200 mph trains. We need reliable trains with more than one frequency a day. 90 mph would be great most places. Amtrak in middle America serves small towns, families, students, the elderly and just regular folks.
Here is the story. See what you think.