Governor Redirects High Speed Rail Funding to Enhance Florida's Economic Development

TALLAHASSEE -- Governor Jeb Bush today announced his plan to reroute high speed rail funds in his 1999-2000 budget to public transportation projects that will have an immediate and significant impact on Florida's business climate.

The spending recommendations in the areas of intermodal access and transit are intended to make life better for all Floridians. "By redirecting this money, we can find more creative ways to promote intermodal projects that would link our airports and seaports to strengthen trade, commerce and our economic competitiveness and also get our state's WAGES participants to their jobs," said Governor Bush.

Following his action to withhold state funding for the high speed rail project in January, the governor asked the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to work with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and other stakeholders to identify public transportation projects or programs that could be financed with the $130 million slated for high speed rail over the next 18 months.

Future allocation of the $70 million a year -- previously designated for high speed rail -- will be determined by FDOT in cooperation with the governor's office, legislature, local governments, MPOs, public agencies, and the business community.

Governor Bush outlined several areas where these monies might be spent:

  • Supporting intermodal projects designed to improve the movement of goods and people to and from airports and seaports;
  • Improving urban and rural transit systems to support the WAGES program;
  • Enhancing mass transit systems to assist the Tampa Bay area in its bid for the Olympic Games.

The governor's recommendations address the public transportation needs of the entire state. They include everything from west Florida port and airport access projects to an Olympics transportation needs study to an Orlando LYNX light rail north corridor route assessment to Miami Intermodal Center right-of-way purchases as well as other vital projects and programs.

10 January 1999

Source: State of Florida Governor's Office

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