WHEREAS, the President and Congress of the United States have enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 which will make at least $13 billion dollars available for high speed rail and intercity rail passenger service in the next five years, $8 billion dollars which is available under the ARRA for “shovel ready” high speed rail projects; and
WHEREAS, in 1992, the Tampa-Orlando-Miami corridor was designated as the Florida high speed rail corridor and one of our Nation’s ten national high speed rail corridors; and
WHEREAS, the Florida high speed rail corridor would provide service to 12.7 million Floridians, serving major urban counties with an overall average population density of 1,165 persons per square mile, equating to over 35,000 people per linear mile; and
WHEREAS, Florida can design, construct and commence operation of America’s fastest high speed rail system in the Orlando-Tampa corridor for less cost per mile and provide more Americans with greater exposure to true high speed rail than any project in the Nation; and
WHEREAS, development of high speed rail in the Orlando-Tampa corridor would connect a super-region with over 6.8 million citizens, two international airports with over 51 million passengers and tourist destinations that attract over 50 million visitors annually, all of which are served primarily by a single six-lane highway; and
WHEREAS, to date, as a result of several major studies and procurement processes costing over $10 million dollars, Florida also has identified two practical alternative corridors for the development of high speed rail service between Orlando and Miami; and
WHEREAS, the Orlando-Miami segment would provide connections to an additional 6 million people, two international airports with over 55 million annual passengers and three major seaports with over 8 million annual cruise ship passengers; and
WHEREAS, establishing long-distance traditional speed inter-city rail service between Jacksonville and Miami would link an additional 1.3 million Floridians to the Florida high speed rail corridor; and
WHEREAS, the combined projects establish a cost-effective foundation for commencing and developing high speed and inter-city rail service in Florida that would provide effective service to 14 million Floridians or approximately 76% of Florida’s residents; and
WHEREAS, Florida has consistently been a donor to the federal trust fund for highway and transit dollars with Florida receiving less than 30 cents back for each transit dollar it generates; and
WHEREAS, Florida is projected to experience higher levels of unemployment with a disproportionately higher impact on Florida’s building trades and the development of the proposed corridors would create over 25,000 permanent jobs and tens of thousands of construction jobs; and
WHEREAS, the development of high speed rail and intercity rail in Florida will catalyze the development of strong regional and local rail, including Central Florida commuter rail and bus transit systems, reduce congestion and air pollution and will promote better growth management; and
WHEREAS, federal funding of Florida’s Tampa-Orlando-Miami high speed rail and Jacksonville to Miami inter-city rail applications would meet the goals and objectives of President Obama and the U.S. Congress, providing greater funding equity to Florida, create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic prosperity.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida do hereby support and urge President Obama, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo to fully fund Florida’s applications.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida do hereby urge and request that all members of Florida’s Congressional delegation support Florida’s high speed and inter-city rail applications.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida does hereby urge and request that the Florida Legislature enthusiastically support Florida’s high speed and inter-city rail applications and take all reasonable and prudent steps to maximize Florida’s ability to qualify for these federal funds.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida have hereunto subscribed their names and have caused the Official Seal of the State of Florida to be hereunto affixed in the City of Tallahassee on this 15th day of September, 2009.