New Report: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for Florida

Media Releases

Florida PIRG Education Fund

Orlando, FL — Today Florida PIRG released a major new report, A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America.  Following a two day high-speed rail forum, the report was released outside a MetroPlan Orlando meeting where Orlando’s decision makers agreed to amend their long-term transportation plans to include high-speed rail.  Drawing lessons from other countries, the study shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

“This reports allows us to examine what has worked and even what hasn’t in other countries, as Florida begins to design and construct the first high speed rail system in America,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “Additionally, it further validates the economic impact that high speed rail will bring to Florida.”

According to the report, high-speed rail provides strong economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits by connecting major population centers.  Areas around stations are found to experience higher levels of economic growth. Bullet trains in other countries have largely replaced less efficient and inconvenient air and car travel, while using up to two-thirds less energy.
“All around the world, high-speed rail is producing results. Here in Florida, faster trains will provide better transportation options and thousands of new jobs,” said Patrick Gittard at Florida PIRG.

In Florida, $800 million was recently added to $1.25 billion already allocated to the high-speed rail line to connect Tampa and Orlando, laying tracks to transform the two cities into a world-class economic mega-region.

Over the last two years the federal government has distributed $10.4 billion in grants to construct or plan high-speed rail, including incremental measures that increase the speed and reliability of existing passenger rail.  With a total of 341 requests, 37 states and the District of Columbia applied for support from the Federal Railroad Administration. Those requests amounted to over $65 billion – about six times the amount made available by Congress.

Jacob Stuart, the President of Central Florida Partnership and the Orlando Chamber of commerce commented, “This report being released in Central Florida is another example of how the eyes of the world are turning their attention to Florida’s Super Region.  Along these lines, High Speed Rail for Florida is important step forward for America; and we welcome the opportunity to successfully showcase this transformational transportation system for the United States.”

“Now that the election is behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail,” said Patrick Gittard.  “This is not a Republican or a Democratic rail track, but a Floridian one.  Leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the benefits it will bring to Florida.”