Florida Voters approved amendment for High Speed Rail
As early as November 2000, voters in Florida agreed to an amendment to the constitution of Florida authorizing Florida to launch a high speed rail system to exceed speeds of 120 mph to link its five largest urban areas. Construction was to begin by November 1, 2003.
In March 2001 the Florida High Speed Rail Authority Act (HSRA) was passed by The Florida Legislature. Environmental studies had already begun to develop the beginning phases of the High Speed Rail system between Orlando and Tampa. The first phase under the original referendum was planned for completion in 2009 and would have connected Orlando to Tampa and later with an extension to St Petersburg.
The suggested cost of $2.4 billion dollars for the Orlando-Tampa route was given and proposed. In 2003 Governor Jeb Bush vetoed the funding for this development even though the proposal offered private contributions to support the operation of this system. Private donations would also share risks coupled with projected revenues from riders. The HSRA continued moving forward with the project, using money already authorized by the federal government.
In 2004 Governor Jeb Bush made an effort to revoke the 2000 amendment that gave permission to construct the High Speed Rail system. In November of that year Florida voters cancelled the 2000 amendment for High Speed Rail, which removed the constitutional mandate.
Obama’s first proposal for High Speed Rail
In April of 2009 Obama made his first proposal to build high speed rail passageways like those oversees to cover our country’s 10 busiest routes. This plan was proposed to save jobs, help protect our ecosystem and ease traffic on our roads and airports. Obama feels that it is time for us to invest in high speed rail road and catch up with the rest of the world. Obama also said that $80 billion dollars are lost in productivity from airports and roads.
Eight Billion in Obama’s economic rescue plan will be invested in rail travel and must be spent over the next two years. Another 5 billion has been proposed by Obama to be spent over the next 5 years for rail travel. Obama believes that his plan will also help put Americans back to work.
While most passenger trains in the United States travel at maximum speeds of 79 mph, trains in Europe and Asia travel in excess of 125mph. The Train Ga Grande Vitesse (TGV) in France travels an average speed of 133mph. Laying down a new world record, another French train reached 357 mph in 2007.
First launched in the 1960’s Japan’s high speed rail network transports more passengers than any other rail system on earth. China, Spain and Germany have trains capable of traveling at speeds as fast as 140mph.
In January 2010 at a town hall meeting in Tampa, Florida Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced grants for 13 100 to 600 mile passageways laced throughout the country to link major urban areas like Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. This in an attempt by the Whitehouse to get Americans back to work and the president’s top priority with a plan on how to do it.
As of august 2010, President Obama’s US rail is lagging behind. The Obama administration sets its sights on a high speed rail system to compete with the overseas fast train system.
The link from Tampa to Orlando, is divided into five station stops; a fast train would get to the destination 30 minutes ahead of an automobile. The state has been sued to keep special elevated tracks from what they quote as becoming “the Berlin Wall” through their neighborhood. Meg Whitman has been stated as wanting to put the idea on hold until better economic times. Much political debate has resulted from the fact that trains would only reach a high speed of 79 mph from Ohio’s leg of the Chicago hub. The between city speed would be around 39 mph. The leading Candidate for Governor John Kasich has promised to divert train funds to improving our roads. This action was reproved from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who remains hopeful due to the fact that this project is in the beginning phase. California, Florida and Midwest have received most of the funding for this High Speed Rail system, and have suffered delays.
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