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3/9/2011



Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Tampa-Orlando line would have made money, study results say


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Today, Wilbur Smith Associates and Steer Davies Gleave released preliminary ridership, revenue and operating cost figures for the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail corridor that show the system would have had an operating surplus in its first year of service — a moot point now that Gov. Rick Scott has officially rejected federal funding for the project.

After taking office earlier this year, Scott had said he was waiting to see results from the transportation engineering and consulting firms’ study before determining whether to proceed with the high-speed rail project. The full study is not expected to be complete until next month.

In 2016, the Tampa-Orlando corridor would attract 3.3 million passengers and generate ticket revenue of $60.8 million — creating an operating surplus of more than $10 billion, according to the consulting firms. In its 20th year of operation, the system was estimated to draw 4.4 million riders and generate $88.2 million in ticket revenue, creating a $28.5 million surplus.

The results from the latest study are more favorable than those from a previous study conducted by AECOM and Wilbur Smith Associates that the Florida Rail Enterprise referred to in its application seeking high-speed stimulus funds. The earlier study estimated annual ridership of 2.4 million and ticket revenue of $48.5 million in the first year of operation, and ridership and ticket revenue totaling 3.2 million and $65.4 million, respectively, in the line’s 10th year of operation.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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