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Passenger Train Idea Moves Florida Cities' Leaders

June 15, 2012 | WMFE - Although the idea of a high-speed rail linking Tampa, Orlando and Miami was scuttled when Governor Rick Scott refused its federal funding, a private company's "passenger rail" proposal is causing a buzz among the leaders of Florida's larger cities. At the 80th annual US Mayors Conference in Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer spoke about the passenger rail's possibilities.

[Image: FEC freight train]

The private company Florida East Coast Railway, or FEC, wants to run passenger trains between South Florida and Orlando by 2014. The company plans to add a new leg of tracks inland to Orlando its existing 200 miles of track that stretch up the coast.

At the US Mayor’s Conference in Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer headed up a meeting about the passenger rail’s future with Florida’s Urban Partnership.

“That’s the mayors of the seven largest cities in the state of Florida,” explains Dyer, “and FEC made a presentation on what they’re attempting to do in a very positive manner, and very well-received by all the mayors.”

FEC says the passenger trains could eventually extend to Tampa and Jacksonville. The company says moving passengers won’t interfere with its freight business, and that the trip from the Miami area to Orlando will take about three hours.

Quips Dyer about the passenger train: “I think that has real legs to it.”


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