2002 February – Backgrounder #36 – Local Sys⁠t⁠em: S⁠t⁠a⁠t⁠ew⁠i⁠de Obl⁠i⁠ga⁠t⁠⁠i⁠on The 2002 Flor⁠i⁠da H⁠i⁠gh Speed Ra⁠i⁠l Au⁠t⁠hor⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y Repor⁠t⁠

By: The James Madison Institute / 2002

Executive Summary

In 2000, voters of the state of Florida approved a constitutional amendment that required building a high-speed rail system connecting the states five largest urban areas. In response to that directive, the state legislature established the Florida High Speed Rail Authority (FHSRA) to review and develop the pro- posed system.
Consistent with the legislative requirement, FHSRA has reviewed the project and presented its report. The report largely deals with completion of an approxi- mately 100-mile line from St. Petersburg to Orlando. FHRSA reviewed four alternatives:

A 120 mile per hour maximum speed system (120 MPH Alternative)
A 150 mile per hour system (150 MPH Alternative)
A 180 mile per hour system (180 MPH Alternative), and
A magnetic levitation system capable of speeds up to 250 miles per hour (MagLev Alternative).
Data was not presented with respect to the statewide system required by the constitutional amendment.

This document provides an analysis of the FHSRA report. The financial and rid- ership projections are reviewed based upon three scenarios, and general conclu- sions are provided with respect to three routes: the initial St. Petersburg-Orlando route, the expanded St. Petersburg-Orlando-Miami route, and the statewide sys- tem. The scenarios are as follows.
FHSRA Scenario is based upon the projections and assumptions used by FHSRA in its 2002 report.
FOX Scenario relies upon the projections and assumptions used in development of the canceled FOX high-speed rail system. This project was canceled because Governor Jeb Bush determined its cost and revenue projections were overly optimistic and would create substantial obligations for state taxpayers.
Realistic Scenario relies upon the international and market experience.