REPORT: Trump Can Unleash Jobs Boom Through Private Rail | NTK Network REPORT: Trump Can Unleash Jobs Boom Through Private Rail

REPORT: Trump Can Unleash Jobs Boom Through Private Rail

An FAU associate professor believes a coordinated effort can revitalized America’s rail corridors and surrounding areas

By NTK Staff | 04.19.2017 @6:02pm
REPORT: Trump Can Unleash Jobs Boom Through Private Rail

new report, “Make Rail (and Transit-Oriented Development) Great Again,” published by a professor from Florida Atlantic University sheds new light on a way forward for America’s rail system that hinges on private investment in rail.

Associated Professor John Renne, of Boca Raton, argues that private investment in rail can help further develop underutilized areas around existing rail stations. Renne urges President Trump to consider “unlocking” the potential of a more entrepreneurial effort to combine housing and transportation policy.

Here, Renne explains the benefits of All Aboard Florida’s Brightline service, a key example in his argument:

In Florida, Henry Flagler built the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway a century ago, which enabled real estate development and new housing near the stations. Within 3 months of the opening of the Miami station in 1896, the population boomed from 300 to 1,500 residents (Standiford, 2002).

During the 20th century, the corridor was converted to freight-only rail service, but in 2012, Fortress Investment Group, LLC, the owners of the FEC, launched a project known as All Aboard Florida, to connect Miami to Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The Brightline higher speed passenger rail service is scheduled to open Phase 1 from Miami to West Palm Beach in 2017. The project is 100% privately funded, and supported by the public sector through federal low-interest private activity bonds.

The project is made feasible largely through building [transit-oriented development] at each of the Brightline stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. Not long ago, these station areas were forgotten places, and now the critical mass of the new investments in rail infrastructure and development is resulting in a dramatic multiplier of investment in the downtown of each city. The problems have shifted from blight to fears of overpriced housing and gentrification.

Ultimately, the decision is the Trump administration’s to make, but should projects such as these remain successful, the results will be hard to ignore.

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