December 20, 2012
Florida’s one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and a major recipient of seasonal visitors and international travelers from all over the world. With its population booming, and its economy reliant on tourism and services, the state has long been in dire need of a modern transportation system – and it finally got one.
This past Tuesday, All Aboard Florida, a passenger rail line subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, began negotiating a lease in order to build the northern segment of its $1.5 billion train line between Miami and Orlando. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Husein Cumber, the Executive VP of Corporate Development for Florida East Coast Industries, described this as “a major step forward for the project” and one that “will allow our $1.5 billion private investment to move forward quickly so we can enhance Florida’s transportation network and begin to create thousands of new jobs in our state.”
Construction may begin as early as 2013. Plans call for line stations to be built in Miami, Fort Lauderdale,West Palm Beach, and Orlando International Airport. The intended completion date for the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations is August 2015, while the Miami station – which may be the largest, and may include commercial space – would be finished by December 2015. It’s projected that the line will be fully operational for public use by 2016.
Aside from establishing well-needed links between some of the state’s biggest cities, the positive benefits of this project are projected to be significant. As the South Florida Business Journal reports:
The potential economic impact is enormous: Total construction benefits include the creation of 18,707 direct jobs and 17,160 indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 36,000 jobs. The total economic impact is pegged at more than $4 billion during the construction.
Once the project is completed, the project would generate 509 direct jobs, nearly 1,500 indirect jobs for a total of about 2,000 jobs. The total economic output would be $349 million annually.