So let’s recap the week of high-speed rail announcements.
On Wednesday (1/27), President Obama in his State of the Union speech talks about how $8 billion in funding for high-speed intercity passenger rail (HSR) will be a major jobs creator.
Photo: Tri-Rail is a commuter rail service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. In five years, a high-speed train will whisk travelers between Tampa and Orlando. The hope is that a second link between Orlando and Miami will come afterwards.
The next day, in Tampa, Florida, he announced the winners of the $8 billion dollars of funding. Actually, the White House Press Office “leaked” the press releases the night before.
So what did I do for “high-speed rail week”?
I wrote a few articles and created a couple summaries:
- Rep. Mica of Florida is confused about how best to support high-speed rail
- High-speed rail stimulus awards coverage and summary – This article summarizes the projects’ major construction elements.
- Thursday is a big day for high-speed rail in America
- Spreadsheet summarizing ALL construction elements and funding amounts: Google Docs or Excel file.
- New finds from late Thursday, early Friday:
- Interactive map from the White House (Flash),
- Federal Railroad Administration fact sheets (one sheet per corridor) with “quick stats” and miniature maps,
- and a summary chart from the White House (PDF), breaking down the funding amounts for each corridor (beyond what I did in the spreadsheet above).
If you want to read some more opinions about this part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (or stimulus), check out these articles I’ve selected:
- Florida’s High-Speed Rail Route Is Going to be Very Costly for Taxpayers – Robert Poole at the Reason Foundation (not to be confused with Randall O’Toole) says Florida needs $3 billion more to build its HSR line from Tampa to Orlando and, despite this gift, taxpayers will be stuck footing the bill.
- Georgia gets diddly-squat for high-speed rail funding – Thomas Wheatley at Creative Loafing. Thirty-one states got funding and Georgia didn’t. It didn’t help that the Georgia General Assembly sat on its collective rear by not planning for rail or even spending a federal earmark.
- While many people don’t want a Tampa-Orlando link now (partially because of the lack transit connections at each terminal), the St. Petersburg Times editorial describes the specific types of trips people would make. Last October, the Disney corporation said it supported the train and would donate 50 acres of land for a station. Lastly, Infrastructurist provides a closer look at why Florida was ahead of the pack.