Editor’s Note – In what is starting to shape up as a very favorable trend for opponents of high speed rail in Florida, one of Governor Scott’s transportation transition team advisers is saying to abandon the project.
Coupled with earlier reports this week that Senate President Mike Haridopolos will not support HSR if any of the costs are placed on the state, is this new report a tip of the hat in the direction Governor Scott will take in February when he’s expected to make his decision?
Cost overruns are common in projects such as this and now that there are legitimate concerns about “low-balling” the estimates here in Florida, this could very well be the death knell of HSR in the state for the foreseeable future.
Report By Scott Adviser Recommends Canceling High-Speed Rail Project
By: Gray Rohrer
Sunshine State News
The total cost of the first phase of Florida’s high-speed rail project could be more than double official estimates, according to a report released Thursday by the Reason Foundation, a California-based libertarian think tank.
Robert Poole, one of Scott’s transportation transition team advisers, helped write the report, which states that the rail line that would connect Tampa and Orlando could cost $3 billion more than the current official estimate of $2.7 billion. The report even recommended abandoning the project altogether.
Florida’s cost estimate of $32.1 million per mile is more than doubled by estimates for a section of California’s high-speed rail line, which put the cost at $67.8 million per mile. Poole used a 64-mile stretch in California’s Central Valley, with flat lands comparable to Florida’s, to contrast the estimates.
“If the Florida project is low-balling the cost estimate to that extent, the cost could be double. And there are many reports in California saying those estimates are too low,” Poole said.
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