Florida’s efforts to develop a statewide passenger rail network received a boost earlier this month with a $118M commitment by the FDOT for a potential Miami – Jacksonville Amtrak connection. Estimated at $268M, the MIA – JAX connection would enable trains to travel along the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad at speeds of up to 90MPH. This critical route would provide a direct rail link to many east coast downtowns including St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Vero Beach, and Fort Pierce. The map below (obtained from the service development plan submitted in August 2010) depicts the anticipated stations serviced by the new route.

This latest attempt to receive matching funds from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is actually the third such from FDOT which previously filed requests for Federal support under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in June 2009 and again last year as part of the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program. On both occasions, the MIA – Jax route took a backseat to the “shovel ready” Tampa – Orlando HSR, which now has $2.3B in funding commitments from the FRA.

The third time might just be the charm. The $118M proposed by the state amounts to a 45% match for the project, a marked departure from the $250M request submitted to the FRA in August. The funds are slated to come from the State Transportation Trust Fund in the 2013-2014 budget year. Senator Bill Nelson has already expressed emphatic support for the project, vowing to work with local officials throughout the corridor to identify funding for the project. US Representative John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, also expressed support for the project provided that it makes economic sense.

Current estimations predict that an estimated 865,000 trips will be made during the train’s first year of service.

For more information on the proposed service, Please visit the FDOT Florida East Coast Corridor - Amtrak Service High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) application - August 2010

 

5 Responses to Miami - Jacksonville Amtrak Service; Another Critical Link to the Statewide Passenger Rail Network

  1. Neil Fritz says:

    Great project. Can’t wait for this east coast connection!

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  2. Juan Navarro says:

    Man there is no reason can’t have all the coast linked up via Train…plus maybe, just maybe, and this is wishful thinking here, I know… a train to the KEYS.

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  3. Rog in Miami Gardens says:

    I am with Juan. Also, why does it take Amtrak 44 hours to get from Miami to Atlanta, on some route connecting through TWO North Carolinian cities. This is absurd, no wonder citizens always default to flying even though that mode has become one of the most uncomfortable ways to travel.

    There should be a Miami - Orlando - Jacksonville- Atlanta express. I think the demand is there.

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  4. Amtrak’s biggest issue is that they don’t own the Right-of-way and must therefore give way to passing freight trains. Aside from the northeast corridor (DC to Boston) Amtrak is operating on freight railroads.

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  5. Aline says:

    I’m from a midsized Midwestern town where only school kids and folks who can’t afford cars take the bus. Sitting in rush hour traffic, I’d be thinking hmmm…I could use this extra time to watch the morning news, do a pedi…anything except sitting and staring at idle cars. Thank God I moved and thank God for such good mass transit.

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