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Florida bullet train dead – again

by Dara Kam | March 18th, 2011

Florida is out of the running (again) for $2.4 billion for a high-speed rail system linking Orlando, Tampa and Miami, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said this morning.

A coalition of state, local and federal officials’ plan to get the federal funds – again – after Gov. Rick Scott turned down the money last month has failed, Nelson said in a statement this morning.

The plan hinged on getting Amtrak to join in as an end-run around Scott. But Amtrak officials said no.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reopened bids for the grant money last week to give Florida a second shot at drawing down the stimulus funds.

But that would have required an existing rail authority – like Amtrak – to participate. With Amtrak out of the picture, the coalition doesn’t have enough time to come up with another proposal to meet LaHood’s April 4 deadline.

Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman said in a letter to Nelson that the federally funded train system would help out in the future, but not now. He said that Florida and Amtrak could work together to try to get some of the $8 billion included in President Obama’s budget proposal (which Congress hasn’t yet approved).

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20 Responses to “Florida bullet train dead – again”

  1. Mark Says:

    Sweet. Thanks Mike Haridopolis and Rick Scott for saving us some serious cash, time and heartburn.

  2. SR Says:

    Excellent. Now let’s remember the people that tried to foist this boondoggle on the taxpayers and vote them out in 2012.

  3. papabear Says:

    And remember the ones who spoke out for taxpayers, or found the courage to make the right call when we needed them. Haridopolos took the long way there, but Scott followed him on the right path and saved taxpayers from this mess.

  4. stevecody Says:

    It’s sad that Florida has been taken over by anti-progress politians. If they were in charge in the 1960s Cape Canaveral would be a bus station.

  5. Stuart McKinney Says:


    WHO would ride this system to the degree needed to make it viable? There is supposed to be a government paid study that says 2.4 Million will use the Tampa Orlando link by 2015. That works out to 6500 a day, and assuming 16 trains, 400 people a trip. That's absolute pie-in-the-sky; nowhere near that many people will want to go from downtown Tampa to Disney World.

    The only possible piece that could make money is the link from Orlando Airport to Disney, and that can't/won't run at "bullet" speed. Truth be told, Amtrak is not getting involved because they know what it takes to make a Metroliner work, and Florida isn't anywhere close to it.

    It is sexy to burn 2 billion dollars building a bullet train. It would be a lot more mundane, but practical, to build a monorail system that connects downtown Tampa with Tampa's airport and USF and maybe some of the working class neighborhoods. In fact that infrastructure needs to be built before a bullet train is built, not the other way around. However, getting joe lunchbucket to his cubicle job downtown is not sexy.

    Assuming you live in Palm Beach: You DO take the Tri-Rail whenever you want to go to Miami, don't you?

  6. savant Says:

    The 2.5 billion is small change compared to the endless operating subsidies would require. For what? a showpiece with barely enough riders to fill a minivan?

  7. mike Says:

    Now the Fl gnop just has to retroactivly revoke the construction of 1-95 and the Florida turnpike. They were not necessary and a huge waste of tax payers money. So amtrak ceo says we dont need the bullet now, Hmmm, I wonder who hes in bed with. I say boycott amtrak. Protest, Recall and Impeach.

  8. You can't spend forever Says:

    How refreshing to finally have politicians that understand that you can’t spend money you don’t have!

    If the US doubled all corporate and personal income taxes NOW, we STILL wouldn’t have a balanced budget. the federal government is $14 Trillion in debt and have UNFUNDED committments exceeding $60 Trillion.

    The spending MUST STOP or we’ll all watch the end of the America.

  9. JimmyJack Says:

    @Mike, how often do you ride Amtrak? I’d venture to say never. How often do you ride Tri-Rail?

  10. Bill Nebauer Says:

    It’s a small, but significant, step to realization that the federal government doesn’t even HAVE money to throw around without sending the bill to children and grandchildren.
    Palm Tran and Tri-Rail have been operating, sort of, for years now and still scream for taxpayer subsidies.
    We have to quit spending money we don’t have.

  11. candros Says:

    Thank you for you sanity, governor scott. Please do not stop, there are 1,000′s of these ridiculous projects out there!

  12. OBIWAN Says:

    This is ‘news’?

    BUT, the Congressional Budge Office determining that BARAMA and his goonsquad ‘underestimated’ $2.3 TRillion in deficit spending in his budget is not ‘news’?

    Imagine that…??

  13. Hello, it's me Says:

    When I moved to Florida five years ago I had not owned a car for 12 years. I moved from a city whose public transportation system was voted the best in North America. I own a car now because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere here without taking all day. Florida’s public transportation is decades behind other states and most other countries (think Europe, Japan). When gas gets to $5-6-7 a gallon you will wish you had that train.

  14. Marinelender Says:

    @Hello it’s me…..If you like public transportation so much….go back!

  15. Mike Says:

    How about fixing the pipes and electrical conduit running underground. The new water treatment plant in Glades County is losing millions of gallons of water because the new plant is pumping water into 80+ yr old pipes.

  16. nemo Says:

    Saving Florida money…this is why Gov. Scott was elected.

  17. Craig Says:

    is everybody stupid or what. Think of the additional tourism that would come from this. Also, think of the job opportunities this would create. You could live in one city and work in another. And that doesn’t even count all the people we would put to work building the rail system. WAKE UP people, if we don’t start making big changes soon, most of us are gonna be in big trouble. Not the rich, but there the one’s holding us back…..Our Government is totally screwed up…

  18. Craig Says:

    the second phase of the rail system was gonna head down the gulfcoast to Miami. So, when tourist come to Florida, multiple cities could benefit, in turn making Florida more appealing to tourism. Not just Disney World. were talking (long term) Cities like Orlando,Tampa,Ft.Myers,Naples,Miami.etc. I just don’t see the bad in it. Yea,Yea, we will have to pay taxes. What’s new, we the people always have to pick up the bill…… Florida now sucks a little more

  19. Stuart McKinney Says:

    @ Craig

    Tourist are NOT going to ride this boondoggle. The era of Northerners going to center city to stay at the “Hotel DeLuxe” for a week are OVER. Tourists are going to want to wander all over at all times; play the putt-putt golf, go to the interesting shrimp joint, hit the zoo, go over to the state park… They’re going to want/need a car, and once they do, they’re going to use that car to go to the next town, and the next.

    Amtrak’s Auto Train is the best to hope for regarding train travel and tourists. As for locals, the only way train travel is going to get a foothold is if we coerce the people out of their cars by forcing gasoline to $5.00 a gallon and above via taxes, and by making ALL the interstates and most bridges Toll roads.

  20. Nick Says:

    There are so many cheap republican lemmings in this article, I just don’t know where to begin.

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