Tallahassee Continuing Efforts To Court Amtrak, JetBlue

Mar 23, 2016

Credit jetblue.com

Tallahassee residents could soon have more travel options into and out of the city. 

Travel in Tallahassee has become something of a punchline. That’s why local officials are pushing for more ways to get around Florida. The Amtrak test train chugged through the city last month. And residents’ enthusiastic reception signaled support. The route between New Orleans and Jacksonville stopped running 10 years ago. City Commissioner Scott Maddox says reopening the line would serve as a more comfortable alternative to driving.

“Eventually, when you get the whole route from Jacksonville to New Orleans signalized, you’ll be able to go 79 miles an hour, which’ll be a quick trip. And fares will be reasonable. It’ll be very reasonable,” Maddox says.

Flying has its own set of troubles. Residents have long criticized the Tallahassee Airport for its high prices and lack of options. Now, local officials are working to attract JetBlue to bring low-cost flights to the area. Airport Director Chris Curry says it would fill in the gap of intra-state travel.

“One of the things that’s happened here over the past year or so is the airlines are upgauging their aircraft. At one point, Tallahassee was served with many 50-seat regional-type jets. Most of those are gone.” 

Curry says getting JetBlue would bring back traffic between Tallahassee and South Florida that’s moved to other airports, and it would cut costs.

Legislators set aside $1 million in the state budget to help recruit JetBlue. And the city’s “getBlue” campaign raised $2 million to aid efforts.