Senators Favor Growth Of Rail Project, As Long As They're Not Paying

Oct 8, 2013

A privately-funded consortium wants to use existing rail between Miami and Orlando to run dozens of high-speed trains each day, starting as soon as 2015.
Credit Sean Lamb / Flickr

A Senate committee Monday expressed its support for a plan to build a high-speed rail line between Orlando and Miami, in some part because the state won’t have to foot the bill.

Officials representing Florida East Coast Industries say the All Aboard Florida project will take passengers 235 miles in about three hours – the maximum amount of time Roberts says studies suggest travelers want to be in transit between two points. But Florida East Coast Vice President Rusty Roberts stopped short on giving specifics about the cost to passengers when questioned by Senate Gaming Committee Chair Nancy Detert.

“We haven’t set our prices, so we haven’t announced them,” Roberts said.
“But it’d probably be closer to $100 than $19.99, right,” Detert asked.
“Last time I agreed to answer that question I got in trouble, so I’m not going to do that,” Roberts said.

The line could be open as soon as 2015 and would be similar to Amtrak’s upscale Acela service the national rail carrier uses in its Northeast Corridor. Roberts says his firm will hold public hearings this December in each county the line will traverse, so residents can discuss draft environmental impact statements.