Noel Weaver wrote:
It does not take a rocket scientist to know that at least one Amtrak train belongs on the Florida East Coast. Unfortunately
Florida has to spend lots of money on studies to find that out.
I can agree that there should be an intrastate passenger service between Jacksonville and Miami over the FEC, something that was under serious consideration in the late 1990s. However, running Silver Service trains over the FEC would only cause delays to the FEC's own well run operations. I do think that one or two daily round trips between Jacksonville and Miami could be successfully integrated into the FEC's own traffic and would see substantial ridership.
However, expanding Tri-Rail is most definitely a mistake, since there are serious funding issues to begin with. It comes as no suprise that Tri-Rail's current route is less optimal than the FEC, but there again, CSX was willing to turn it over because it was less than optimal for freight service as well.
As far as I'm concerned, Florida residents should lobby against this particular proposal, as will almost certainly involve higher state and local taxes. More to the point, it is nothing more than an expansion, perhaps even a duplication, of current Tri-Rail service. Perhaps the only point of this effort is to gain a permanent funding base for Tri-Rail through tax increases, with the FEC commuter rail project being used as a justification.
This particular project would be a waste of local, state and federal funds.