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LOGISTICS & TRANSPORTATION : All Aboard Florida Could Bring Major Economic Benefits to Tampa Bay Region

Aug 07, 2014

One of the most exciting economic development projects going on in Florida right now could one day bring a major economic boost to the Tampa Bay area. 

The All Aboard Florida project envisions a passenger rail connection linking Florida’s key economic centers, with the first phase being a connection between South Florida and Orlando. The rail line would make use of the Florida East Coast railway with a terminus at the new intermodal center being constructed at Orlando International Airport. 

The project is a 100 percent private venture and requires no state subsidies. Despite this, support from public officials and community leaders will still be vital in ensuring a successful implementation of the plan.

This undertaking would be one of the most significant private sector investments into Florida’s economy in recent years. Along with the jobs created directly from railway itself, the proposal includes plans for massive redevelopment projects in and around stations including retail, office space, and links with other established commuter rail systems. Projections indicate that the economic activity generated amounts to $6 billion in positive economic impact over the next eight years and an additional $600 million in new tax revenue for federal, state, and local governments over that same period. A successful implementation of this phase of the project will potentially allow for expansion to other key economic centers, including Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, as well as small cities along the line, which will create thousands more jobs, spur clusters of transit-oriented development and generate billions more in economic activity.

Despite the concerns expressed by some groups over safety and potentially negative environmental impact, the federal government has already issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on Florida’s environment and it has been determined that the increase of 32 trains per day on the existing rail lines would not pose an increased safety hazard.

All Aboard Florida and what we wish to accomplish locally with initiatives like Greenlight Pinellas and MyRide/MyRoads Polk County are naturally complementary. 

Taken together, these projects will be the cornerstone of a transformative era for Florida economically. 

Developing a comprehensive system of mass transit for Tampa Bay and for Florida as a whole will be a catalyst for decades of economic growth and development, and will ensure our ability to compete economically for the foreseeable future.

During this critical election season, make sure your candidates and representatives know that you support developing a world-class system of transit in Florida. 

Support from leaders in both the public and private sectors is indispensable in maximizing the positive impact from these projects and keeping Florida’s economic recovery on track.

Help support the All Aboard Florida efforts by contacting your local representative. For more information or to learn how you can lend your support, click here.

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