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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Sen. Nelson vows to seek alternative ways to build Florida's HSR line


Although Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected the federal dollars for the state’s Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project, it might not mean the end of Florida’s high-speed rail program.

Yesterday, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said he spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about finding a way Florida can make high-speed rail a reality despite Scott’s rejection of $2.4 billion available in federal dollars that would have funded 90 percent of the project.

“In order to complete it, it looks like we are going to have to find another entity that would be something other than the state in order to channel the funds through, along with participation of the private companies that are bidding to build and operate the high speed rail,” Nelson said in a YouTube video posted on his site. “We have the lawyers in the U.S. Department of Transportation that are now doing the research.”

The high-speed project would not only create 24,000 jobs during the next five years, but help recreate Florida’s transportation network, Nelson said.

“Florida has the best proposal in the entire United States. We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by,” he said. “This will be an enormous new economic shot in the arm, as well as a new mode of transportation. Can you imagine if a governor had tried to kill the proposal by president Dwight Eisenhower years ago when he set up the interstate highway system? That is what we are facing today.”

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More News from 2/17/2011