CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/AP) – Orlando and South Florida may soon be only a train ride away.
Florida East Coast Industries said Thursday that by 2014 travelers would be able to travel from Miami to Orlando by train as part of a $1 billion private-industry project called, “All Aboard Florida.”
The project will use the 200 mile rail corridor owned by the company between Miami and Cocoa and build 40 miles of new track to link it to Orlando.
The train ride from Miami to Orlando is expected to take about three hours, slashing travel time by car by about an hour.
The Coral Gables-based company hopes to eventually expand the track to Tampa and Jacksonville.
Christine Barney, a spokesperson for FECI, said passenger rail has been an issue in Florida for decades, but residents have always seemed reluctant to use public funds to support the various projects that have been proposed.
“All Aboard Florida offers a different approach,” Barney said. “It will be privately owned, privately operated and privately maintained. There will be no risk to taxpayers.”
In February 2011, Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding to start a high-speed system from Orlando to Tampa.
FECI claimed construction and operation of the line will create thousands of jobs. The company is estimating about 6,000 direct jobs needed to construct the system and more than 1,000 more jobs to operate and maintain it once it’s finished.
The “All Aboard Florida” train service will include business and coach class service with advance purchase reserved seating, gourmet meals and wireless Internet.
Stops will include Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando with transfers to the Metrorail and Metromover.
Barney said that the goal is for the trains to average 100 mph, with speeds generally faster in rural areas than in urban areas.
The company said it would be working in depth with local, state and federal officials, as well as the communities along the route to improve the efficiency of the line
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