I am intrigued to read of Florida’s special session on high-speed rail and the Republican Governor’s endorsement of it, especially given that he’s in a tight primary race. It’s not that Republicans never support transit, but it appears that Florida Republicans seem to want to frame it on the basis of fiscal responsibility (how expensive it is to build rail) rather than how it stimulates economic growth.
“Debate quickly became polarized on the session’s first day with nearly one-third of legislators absent. Supporters said rail projects would spur hundreds of thousands of new jobs and ease traffic congestion, while opponents disputed job-creation numbers and said the price tag is too high.”
It seems like there is enough support for both SunRail and Tri-Rail from the legislators in Central and South Florida, respectively, for this high-speed rail plan to move forward. The concept needs support in “swing states” like Florida to catch on elsewhere. I know plenty of people who work in one part of Florida and have to travel to other parts regularly, and this would help them and enhance the tourism experience for lots of visitors. Even in a relatively big state, I think it could work if it’s competitive with driving–three hours from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, say–and with flying on price (maybe $20 for that trip?).