New legislation introduced in Tallahassee could derail millions in economic opportunity, kill jobs, hurt lower-income families and keep Florida disconnected…
There’s an effort afoot in Florida to slam the brakes on a privately owned and funded high-speed rail project called Brightline, which would connect Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando and potentially Tampa and Jacksonville with safe, fast passenger rail service.
The High Speed Rail Safety Act (SB 386) is poison pill legislation introduced by senators and representatives from the state’s Treasure Coast who have long been opposed to any type of rail going through their communities even though rail has existed there for more than 120 years. While drafted under the auspices of “rail safety,” the bill’s real objective is preventing a future expansion of Brightline from West Palm Beach to Orlando and any subsequent expansions.
Despite some misconceptions, All Aboard Florida is not President Obama’s failed government-run high-speed rail project. Rather, it’s a privately owned, privately run company investing billions into the Florida economy and paying millions in property and other taxes to state and local government coffers.
Here are six of the negative impacts that would result if the bill passed:
Keep Florida Disconnected. Brightline would connect South and Central Florida with privately run and funded passenger rail service that could expand to Tampa and Jacksonville and add stations along the route in coming years.
Kill Jobs. Brightline has already created thousands of jobs. This bill would kill future jobs from construction of the system and kill the creation of thousands of new jobs in the hospitality and high-tech industries.
Add to I-95’s Congestion. Brightline is an alternative transportation method that would eliminate an estimated 3 million cars from state roadways.
Hurt Lower-Income Floridians. Brightline is working with South Florida’s Tri-Rail to help expand its reach. This legislation could kill that partnership, severely limiting transportation options, particularly for low-income and vulnerable communities.
Negatively Impact Freight Operations. New regulations introduced in this poison pill legislation would increase the cost of operating in Florida’s ports, into which the legislature has poured millions of dollars to make more business-friendly. This is why Florida two major freight operations and all 12 short line railroads are opposed to the bill.
Hurt Florida’s Economy. New transportation corridors, like Brightline, always create jobs and generate new economic activity.
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