Half a Train is No Train: Who Will Pick Up the Bill?

The Federal government will not seed enough money to start construction of a high speed train in Florida.  Even if the Orlando-Tampa section is built, it will bring huge operating deficits, and who will pay for the deficits, but the taxpayers of Florida.  It is conceded that for the high speed train to be “profitable” it will need to include the longest section from Orlando to Miami. Even when completed you may expect to pay substantial operating subsidies.  But at this rate the Orlando-Miami section likely will not be built in our lifetime.

There is no passenger train system or subway in the US that does not operate without taxpayer subsidies.  Washington, DC has one of the most successful and beautiful subway systems in the US and it is still being expanded; taxpayers are paying  about half of the operating costs of that system.

Miami has a great unfinished subway system and it will not be completed as promised.

[Even the great little train at MIA that, finally, is running, took years to complete and came in way over cost.]

Until we have a true federal or regional transportation authority that gets the trains running and that subsidizes trains along with highways and cars, the trains will always be singularly costly projects.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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