Friday, August 13, 2010

Florida applies for East Coast Corridor funding

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Though the high speed rail proposal linking Tampa and Orlando (and eventually Miami) has been the high-profile rail development in the Sunshine State, Florida also is moving to reinstate passenger rail along its eastern coast. To that end, the state has requested $250 million from the Federal Railroad Administration to advance more direct Amtrak service between Jacksonville and Miami as part of its Florida East Coast Corridor project.

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The project would use right-of-way owned by Jacksonville-based Florida East Coast Railway, owned since 2007 by Fortress Investment Group LLC. FEC for decades had expressed disinterest in hosting Amtrak service along its 351-mile route, but has modified that stance in recent years.

Amtrak currently links Jacksonville and Miami in more circuitous fashion through its Silver Meteor and Silver Star long-distance trains, which also link Florida with New York.