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In a moment rail advocates around the country have been waiting for, the Obama administration unveiled its plans for American High Speed Rail.

Amen.

While many advocates say the plan does not go far enough, the so called $8 billion “down payment” will jump start the process, with another $5 billion paid over the next five years. Click here to watch Ray LaHood, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama present their vision for American high speed rail, or here to read more of the details.

The corridors to receive funding have yet to be unveiled, but Obama promised the selection will be based on merit.

How the Miami-Orlando-Tampa route fairs in the funding process will be something Transit Miami watches closely.

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11 Responses to Obama Administration Unveils High-Speed Rail Plan

  1. Tony Garcia says:

    Locally, our HSR rail hopes are also tied to Sunrail, which will hopefully get off the ground this year.
    Ideally, we would see a line that runs above I75 across the Everglades to Naples and up to Sarasota/Tampa/Orlando.
    I think the line that runs up the East coast goes a little out of the way, and building an elevated HSR line and road (and removing the at-grade highway) would be a huge Everglades restoration project as well.

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  2. This is great news! My hopes are also tied to Sunrail (fingers crossed).

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  3. Mike Lydon says:

    While it goes a little of the way in one sense, it also goes through the most densely populated part of the state, which depending on how many stops are anticipated, would yield more ridership.

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  4. Tony Garcia says:

    I hear you, although you will miss the population centers along the west coast by going east. Hard to say which has more. The real test, as you point out, is where the stops are and how the areas around the stops are designed. Also, I have family on the west coast and would still have to drive, so I’m biased.

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  5. Tom says:

    Tony, do you really think an elevated road and railway over the Everglades is possible? I think, in spite of the cost, it would be a win for commuters and a win for the environment. As well, just imagine what a beautiful view you’d have speeding along on an elevated line through such a unique part of the natural world. Are there any plans on the table to do this?

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  6. WalterC says:

    Some realism is needed, I think. The $8b is literally a drop in bucket. The LA to San Francisco line is estimated to cost at least $33b (of course, it will cost twice as much). There is a large literature questioning the cost/benefits of high speed trains. But it would be fun to ride one some day in a decade or so.

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  7. Tony Garcia says:

    Tom, I think in an ideal world we would have ONE elevated railway/highway that crosses over the Everglades. A win-win for everyone, but as WalterC points out - we are talking about a lot of money. The more realistic thing to do is to elevate sections of the railway, while also providing many more culverts/locks under the road to allow for more flow of water.
    This is the current plan for US 41:
    “A one-mile bridge would be constructed as compensation to FDOT for the real estate rights to remove the one mile of Tamiami Trail and maintain motor vehicle traffic. The bridge would start approximately 3,000 feet east of Radio One and end about one mile west of S-334 (Figure 6-1). After completion of bridge construction, the unneeded portion of the highway embankment would be removed. The bridge would provide two 12-foot-wide travel lanes with ten-foot shoulders and outside barriers.
    (from the US Army Corps of Engineers assessment of US41 :
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Everglades/Branches/ProjectExe/Sections/LECSW/MWD/DOCS/TamiamiTrail/ttm-LLR_Final20080620/0010_RecommendedPlan-MainDocument.pdf)
    This is a smaller version of the a larger plan to elevate 11 miles of Tamiami Trail.

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  8. Tom says:

    Thanks Tony. That was an interesting read. So, if I read it right, it looks like they’re going to elevate 1 mile and “reinforce” the road to allow for increased water flow. Would that flow be impeded by adding a rail system? If it had the same culverts and elevated stretch, wouldn’t that be a lot cheaper than elevating the whole thing?

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  9. May 15, 2009

    To whom it may concern:

    I’d like to participate in associated development of High Speed Rail Station Stop in West Palm Beach, Florida at mile post 969.

    The Palm Beach Lakes blvd. railroad crossing is at this location.

    I’ve spoken to Department of Transportation officials about this what do you think?

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  10. Joshua says:

    I would like to see plans for a high-speed rail from Ocala to Miami I think it would be good for our economy for state of Florida to create more jobs here

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  11. Joshua says:

    I would like to see plans for Ocala to have the high-speed rail from Ocala to Miami to create jobs here in the state of Florida

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