Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Study touts All Aboard Florida's stimulus

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All Aboard Florida, the higher-speed rail (HrSR) intercity passenger service being advanced by Florida East Coast Industries, will add nearly $3.5 billion in GDP to the state of Florida's economy, according to findings from an economic impact study conducted by The Washington Economics Group, Inc. (WEG), published Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

WEG said during the next eight years the project will generate an estimated $2 billion in labor income and more than $600 million in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based WEG's study asserted that the economic stimulus impacts would begin at the start of the project's construction, slated to begin this year.

As well, during the first two years of construction, the project is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs on average per year. Beyond that, construction and operations of the rail-line and transit-orientated development (TOD) will support an estimated average 5,000 jobs annually through 2021, the study said. Once construction is complete the rail-line and TOD operations will support more than 2,000 permanent jobs.

All Aboard Florida will establish a 235-mile passenger route linking Miami and Orlando, with intermediate stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. "As two mutually reinforcing businesses – passenger rail and transit-oriented development – with direct benefits from each made possible through private investment, All Aboard Florida leads to a cycle of additional investment and economic opportunity, " said All Aboard Florida President and Chief Development Officer Mike Reininger.

"The All Aboard Florida passenger rail system is of significant importance to the State of Florida's economic development and to all of the regions serviced by the multimodal mass transportation of All Aboard Florida operations," said WEG founder and principal Dr. Tony Villamil. "The benefits accrued to the state and to the counties serviced along the corridor go beyond the quantifications of economic impact by encouraging further business development and providing support to key Florida industries such as travel and hospitality, while also improving the mobility of the labor force."