Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Profits from Airport to Disney High Speed Rail Line Could Support Future Expansion

Economist Hank Fishkind told WMFE-FM that a shortened Orlando International Airport to Disney World high speed rail line would rely on a common model for funding transportation infrastructure: start with a crowded route that generates a profit to support future expansion.  You can listen to his interview by clicking HERE.  The Reason Foundation, relied on by Governor Scott, suggested this shortened route as an alternative to lessen its cost and ridership concerns.  Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said this route would have some of the best numbers in the world.  In fact, such a line would draw from nearly 50 million tourists annually in the Orlando area--twice the population of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston combined. 

John Mica floated this shortened route idea last Friday, but it reportedly received a chilly reception from the U.S. DOT, according to Senator Nelson, because it does not connect two metropolitan areas. 

UPDATE--Feb. 25--Multiple sources, including the Tampa Tribune, are suggesting legislators will file a lawsuit against Governor Scott for exceeding his constitutional authority by rejecting the high speed rail funds.  Transportation secretary Ray LaHood has given the Governor an additional week to contemplate a proposal presented by the cities of Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland, and Miami to form a new interlocal agency, under which the State of Florida would have no liability, available at THIS LINK