Obama, high-speed rail and $1.25 billion: 84 miles of new track, 16 round trips a day
Updated with some local feedback--
President Obama and Vice President Biden are in town outlining the funding of $1.25 billion (Florida asked for $2.6 billion) out of the $8 billion pot of money the federal government is investing in high speed rail projects nationwide. This simple map is from the White House and accompanies a data sheet showing how the funds will help pay a portion of the 84 miles of new track and infrastructure between Tampa and Orlando.
Throw in a future connection to Miami, another 240 miles, and the combined high-speed rail track woudl run 324 miles. There's more to read here. And here's the White House sheet's description of the Tampa-Orlando link:
"This investment will initiate the development of the Tampa to Orlando segment, with speeds reaching 168mph and 16 round trips per day on brand new track dedicated solely to high-speed rail. Trip time between the two cities on the new line will be less than one hour, compared to around 90 minutes by car. This project will create jobs and generate economic activity as 84 miles of track are constructed, stations are built or enhanced, and equipment is purchased. Completion of this phase is anticipated in 2014."
One enthusiastic business leader who's put a lot of time and effort in pushing for high-speed rail is Stuart Rogel (in photo), who heads the Tampa Bay Partnership. Here's what he had to say today:
"Tampa Bay and Florida are now poised to lead our country into a modern, efficient and effective transportation future by building the first High Speed Rail system in America. The importance of this announcement, made here in Tampa, can not be understated. This day truly indicates a turning point in our country’s transportation system and it is starting right here, in our home."
Want more information? Here's a White House breakdown of where the rest of the $8 billion in new rail projects will be allocated.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist