INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Florida Department of Transportation has met its deadline to submit its application for federal funds to bring passenger rail back to Florida’s east coast, including a potential stop in Indian River County.
Officials expect to hear back from federal leaders in late September 2010 whether the Amtrak/FEC Corridor Project will receive its requested $250 million grant. The State of Florida submitted the Amtrak/FEC Corridor Project application as well as an application for $1.1 billion in additional funding for high-speed rail express service in the Tampa-Orlando corridor
FDOT, along with the regional planning councils, local governments, MPOs, and others contributed a tremendous effort to enable the application to be submitted by the deadline, according to Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council member Kim Delaney.
“The project is broadly supported along the corridor,” Delaney said, noting more than 160 letters and resolutions from local governments, agencies, and organizations were included in the application package, along with letters of support from Governor Charlie Crist and congressional and legislative leaders.
“There will be much work to do as the project moves forward, but submittal of the application on Friday is a key step towards making this project a reality,” Delaney said.
The Amtrak/FEC project would provide passenger rail service between Miami and Jacksonville.
With train speeds reaching 90 mph in some stretches, the 350-mile ride between the two cities would take less than seven hours by rail.
According to FDOT, if awarded, the rail project would create 2,100 jobs and take three years to complete.
Officials plan to have a stop in Ft. Pierce and another in Melbourne, with Vero Beach between them.
If successful, Delaney said it would possible for other towns along the route – including Sebastian – to get a train stop. Express service could also be possibility between nearby cities.
The first phase, however, consists of plans for four trains – two northbound and two southbound.
New stations Amtrak wants:
Existing stations to tie into:
West Palm Beach
Expected Amtrak service:
Connect Florida East Coast and CSW railways in West Palm Beach
2 trains running northbound and southbound – could grow to 4 or 6 trains daily
Trip between Miami and Jacksonville to take 6 hours
Amtrak Passenger Rail at a Glance:
Total Est. Cost: $268 million – Federal stimulus
Est. Cost/Mile: $750,000
No. Stops: 15
Est. Jobs Created: 2,100
Est. Project Construction: 3 years
Est. Annual Ridership: 175,000-plus
*Source: Florida Department of Transportation, Amtrak, and the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.