A take-down by Robert Samuelson.
[Update while later]
Florida Governor Rick Scott has turned down funding for it.
* My decision to reject the project comes down to three main economic realities:
o First – capital cost overruns from the project could put Florida taxpayers on the hook for an additional $3 billion.
o Second – ridership and revenue projections are historically overly-optimistic and would likely result in ongoing subsidies that state taxpayers would have to incur. (from $300 million – $575 million over 10 years) – Note: The state subsidizes Tri-Rail $34.6 million a year while passenger revenues covers only $10.4 million of the $64 million annual operating budget.
o Finally – if the project becomes too costly for taxpayers and is shut down, the state would have to return the $2.4 billion in federal funds to D.C.
That last “if” should be a “when.” Good for him. Too bad we don’t have as much sense in Sacramento.
[Update a couple minutes later]
the Reason Foundation issued its report nearly two weeks ago. Using estimates for a proposed rail line in California, it projects the Tampa-to-Orlando link could cost $3 billion more than estimated.
Research by the Reason Foundation and the study’s main author, Wendell Cox, regularly offers a skeptical view of rail, so the findings are not particularly surprising. What’s notable is the work was overseen by Robert Poole, a foundation director who served on Scott’s transition team for transportation issues.
“It’s understandable that some are dreaming of flashy high-speed rail trains carrying tourists and residents between the two cities,” Poole said in a news release. “When you look at realistic construction costs and operating expenses you see these trains are likely to turn into a very expensive nightmare for taxpayers.”
Hey, Jerry, I’m sure Bob’s available for a similar analysis for CA. In case you haven’t noticed, you have budget problems, too.