03 March 2011

Ugh...Florida...rail...will it ever happen?

This whole high-speed rail debacle in my home state has just got me upset in all kinds of ways. Frankly, I'm pretty much over it by now, and I honestly think the funds would be much better used in the Pacific Northwest because the politicians in this region are thirsty and begging for projects like this that are a "respectful" use of tax dollars.

You can read up on all of the crazy waste of time and money thanks to our wonderful new governor. Two state senators tried to sue the governor for overstepping his power as governor, and the case was in court today, and must be finally decided by tomorrow and reported back to Secretary LaHood.

I did just read an article though about Governor Scott holding his opposition and claiming that Tri-Rail is the perfect example of a failed rail system for Florida. He states in an interview with CNN that "Tri-Rail shows the potential problems with investing in high-speed rail."

Alright. Mr. Scott,

  1. Tri-Rail is by NO MEANS high-speed rail, much less an even comparable example to compare the Tampa-Orlando line with. You should get that straight.
  2. Tri-Rail IS a pretty failed system, but that is not at all the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority's (the agency that operates the train) fault. The train is slow, it does not connect the downtown cores of South Florida cities, and there is a major lack of connecting public transit to and from the stations. It should have been built along the eastern rail line down there, and everyone knows that, but due to regulations and property acquisition, etc, that never happened.
  3. And finally, Mr. Scott, how can we drill this into your brain? Public transportation is not meant to make money! It's meant to be subsidized. In the case of Florida's high-speed rail, that subsidy will be coming explicitly from the Feds. How can we make it any clearer?
It requires investment! The economic benefits seen from the resulting industry trends, tourism, travel, etc are what makes this investment worthwhile! I read news stories everyday of new high-speed trains opening in Europe and Asia, and think to myself how sad it is that because of people like you, Mr. Scott, we will be stuck in this automobile centered society forever.

It's truly sad.

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