Bob Roberts wrote:What happened to the I-4 median ROW that was to be used for Orlando-Tampa hsr back in 2009 before gov scott killed it? I have zero local knowledge but it sounds like this setup could mirror the newly constricted FEC tracks into Orlando?
The median is still there. But it's owned by the FDOT, not a semi-private toll road authority or a large church.
Look at all the hoops FEC is having to jump over laying new tracks and running additional trains on land they already own. Imagine all the additional political obstacles they would have to jump over to access land owned by FDOT. It's far easier for a governmental agency/authority to get access to public lands, quite different for a private ran railroad company. It's possible FDOT will only release that median for true HSR trains, and not for the 125 mph Brightline trains.
Remember, All Aboard Florida has to stand on its own without government operating subsidies. Extending it towards Tampa may happen in the future, and maybe it will not. It all depends upon business feasibility. A true HSR train with speeds approaching 200 mph may be able to run profitably between Orlando and Tampa, but a 125 mph train may not. The costs of building a 125 mph rail corridor within the median of I-4 may not be all that much cheaper than building a 200 mph rail corridor.
I can't blame FEC/AAF/Brightline folks taking a wait and see if their original plans works before committing $Billions for other extensions.
My last point, Orlando to Tampa passenger train doesn't have to be ran by FEC/AAF/Brightline, it could be ran by a FDOT, FHSR rebirth, Sunrail, or by a third private railroad company - possibly even CSX. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.