FL Small Businesses Support High-Speed Rail

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Brad Ashwell

Florida PIRG

TALLAHASSEE— Today Florida PIRG presented Governor Rick Scott with a letter signed by central Florida small businesses, showing their support for high-speed rail.

Businesses  owners asked the governor to accept federal funding to move forward with the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project. Governor Rick Scott has delayed his decision to accept the money until he has reviewed the results of a feasibility study which is expected to be completed within a matter of days.
“The benefits to the community are both economic and environmental,” says small business owner Carla Jimenez, co-owner of Inkwood Books in Tampa and one of the many businesses that signed the letter to Governor Scott.  “High-speed rail and light rail offer greener transportation alternatives that facilitate commerce and the movement of
“The Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project will directly create tens of thousands of new jobs,” says Patrick Gittard, the Transportation Associate for Florida PIRG.  “These thousands of new employees need somewhere to cut their hair, buy shoes, and eat dinner.  Bringing money and opportunity into an area creates a significant economic ripple effect that is felt by the small business community.”
“The Tampa-Orlando rail project is receiving support from chambers of commerce, corporations, as well as small businesses,” commented Mike Bedke of Connect Us.
“It is an excellent opportunity for Governor Scott, a former businessman himself, to make Florida ‘open for business’ and begin fulfilling his campaign promise of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years.”
The full text of the letter is pasted below.
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Dear Governor Scott:

As businesses and leaders of organizations that work to further Florida’s economy and future, we are writing in support of high-speed rail in Florida.

High-speed rail creates jobs.  At the peak of employment, the Tampa-Orlando rail project is expected to directly employ at least 10,000 workers, creating many thousand more jobs peripherally—a major step towards the campaign promise of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years.  It will provide instant construction jobs, a sector with one of the highest unemployment rates, and additionally it will create sustained, long-term jobs from train maintenance, operation, dispatch, and kiosks/concessions.

High-speed rail encourages economic growth.  Rail provides increased mobility and thus better access to jobs, goods, services, and other markets.  Just like the national highway project after the great depression, Florida and our nation need to make investments that will encourage new growth and accommodate for future growth.

The Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project is not expected to incur extra burdens on Florida’s tax payers.  Both federal and state officials have endorsed the final cost.  Florida already owns most of the land needed for the project, and the required environmental studies have been completed.  Also, multiple international private-sector groups bidding to win the right to operate on this corridor are reportedly willing to take the ridership and revenue risk.  The line would then require no extra state subsidies and Florida will still own the system.

High-speed rail reduces traffic congestion. The new 2060 Florida Transportation Plan estimates a seventy percent population increase in the state over the next fifty years.  We cannot accommodate this growth with ever wider highways, and our current pace of road construction is outpacing our ability to maintain the current network.

High-speed rail helps relieve demand for foreign oil.  Florida’s energy economy is dangerously at the mercy of other international oil producers like Venezula, Lybia, and Iran.  With ever increasing demand comes increases in the price of gas, with estimates that it will reach $5 a gallon by 2012.  Not only does mass transportation use less fuel-per-person (taking pressure off demand), but it has the capacity of being fully electric.

High-speed rail has numerous benefits to offer Florida.  We urge you, Governor Rick Scott, to move forward in constructing the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project.


Catalina Beach Club
Jacqueline Labreche, Owner

Pancheros Mexican Grill
Anna Masur, Owner

Changez Salon
Christopher Kabool, Owner

Robin’s Nest Antiques
Dennis A. Busold, Owner

Neutra Coffee and Tea
Paula Phipps, Owner

Old Tampa Book Company
David E Brown, Owner

Vivo Yogurt Bar
Derek Cuculich, Owner

The One World Gift Shop
Susane Smith, Owner

Artisan’s Edge Barber Shop
Frank Leyva, Owner

Rogo Taco
Roy Rivere, Owner

Art in Gold
 Leighman Walker, Owner

Designing Eyes
Sharon Kyte, Owner

201 Twiggs
Lindsay Baker, Owner

Spain Resl
Marion Cotro, Owner

Bryan Goodell, Owner

 Samaria Café
 Georgia Xanthon, Owner

Gerard Jay Gotdeiau, Owner

Sarah Larson, Owner

Jerk Hut
Andrew Ashmeade, Owner

David Mangrove, Owner

Perfect Match Tailors
Daryl Puchino, Owner

MC Film,
Carrie West, Owner

MSB y Associates
Manil Rias, Owner

Redletter 1
Philip Holt, Owner

NY NY Pizza
Freddy Mamudi, Owner

Christiene Henry, Owner

Blue Devil Tattoo
Grady Johnson, Owner

Brad Cooper Gallery,
Elizabeth Cooper, Owner

Ybor City Tattoo Co,
Pat Riel, Owner

Mac Freeman, Owner

1603 Co,
Skip Sampson, Owner

Ariella Boutique,
Ariela Telem, Owner

“Agora” (Ybor),
Stephen Tyree, Owner

Sunday’s Fine Dining
Gina Sgambato, Owner

Inkwood Books
Carla Jimenez, Owner