06 July, 2008

NEW INTERNATIONAL PORT TENNANT BRINGS EARLY BUSINESS OPENING




MOL Line Volta, Similar to the Vision, which is due in port
Artists rendering of new JaxPort MOL Terminal, West of Dames Point


MOL arrives early in Jacksonville

With the arrival of the MOL Vision on July 7, 2008, MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.) delivers world class service to Jacksonville’s burgeoning South Atlantic port six months ahead of schedule.

In preparation for the opening of TraPac, Inc.’s new 158-acre terminal at the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT), the MOL Vision (voyage 008E) will begin calling on Jacksonville’s Blount Island Terminal as part of its East Coast – South China Express service (ESX). In addition to Jacksonville, the ESX will add east and westbound calls at Balboa, Panama.


Linking Central / South China and the US East Coast via the Panama Canal, the ESX service is jointly operated by TNWA Partners and CMA-CGM. As the future base of MOL’s U.S. South Atlantic port activities, TraPac will offer state-of-the-art post-Panamax container handling systems with a yearly capacity of 800,000 TEUs.


Rapidly increasing development in South Georgia and North Florida is quickly making Jacksonville one of North America’s rising stars of international trade. With nearly fifty major distribution centers within miles of JAXPORT, and 17,000 acres of available building and expansion capacity, JAXPORT is fast becoming the premier South Atlantic port for shippers looking to take advantage of its strategic location. In addition to shortening the distance between the U.S. and Panama, JAXPORT is serviced by three major interstate highways and more than 100 truck terminals, allowing shippers to reach more than 60% of the U.S. population within 24 hours.


With the completion of TraPac Jacksonville, MOL will solidify its commitment to enhancing its already robust East Coast global service, while continuing to strengthen its presence in Latin America and the Caribbean.


New ESX Port Rotation
Ningbo -- Shanghai -- Chiwan -- Hong Kong -- Balboa -- Manzanillo, Panama -- Jacksonville -- Savannah -- New York -- Norfolk -- Balboa -- Ningbo


About MOL
MOL operates one of the largest and most diverse networks of liner and logistics services around the globe, including weekly Transpacific, Transatlantic, Americas and Asia-Europe services. MOL (America) Inc. and TraPac, Inc. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd.) one of the world’s largest multi-modal shipping companies. Please visit the company’s website at www.MOLpower.com.


Thanks to JAXPORT news

JACKSONVILLE-GAINESVILLE / JACKSONVILLE-TALLAHASSEE / JACKSONVILLE-DAYTONA-MIAMI... The "Official Word" new train corridors from Florida DOT. ZZZZzzz


Cal Train photo or a "what if shot" taken near Gainesville or Tallahassee?


It all started in a car crazy society that was tired of seeing the air they breathed. Why not use the new Federal Passenger Train network, "AMTRAK" to try and relieve the congestion. Believe me, I was there, your blogger remembers the jokes. "It will only work if they figure out how to seat the passengers AND their sports cars in coach". Well they did it anyway and something amazing happened. People started abandoning their cars by the hundreds. New development sprung to life alongside the revived passenger stations and a whole new urbanism took root. Yes, I remember "The San Joaquin" in those days. A single little train, one locomotive and maybe 3 cars that trundled down the valley each day from Oakland to Stockton, Fresno and ended it's run 2 feet from hell, in Bakersfield. The equipment was second hand, the Air Conditioning worked - sometimes, and schedule keeping was hap-hazard at best. But on and on it rolled, slowly the numbers of riders creeping ever upward.

Move on to Florida. A state much more dense then the San Joaquin Valley of California. Crowned by Jacksonville, the railroad gateway to America's playground.
Just 60, 120 and 300 miles from Gainesville, Tallahassee and Miami (via Daytona Beach) respectively. Racetrack fast railroad track connecting all points, downtown to downtown possibilities, but not to worry, we're planning extra lanes on the roads to Hades. Fuel prices are soaring, and America's number one beaches are not access able by train. University of Florida, Florida State University and Florida A&M all sit poised to send hordes of commuters into Jacksonville on a daily basis...but you better call Greyhound. A single little train on each of these routes would give us a measure of the future, something we could watch, something we could promote. Schedules could be fixed so the trains to and from the Northeast would offer easy connections or even through cars from Jacksonville. If it seems impossible, just think of what the worlds most auto centric society did. One wonders how we could get to Gainesville, Daytona, or Tallahassee if they were all in California?

The official word from Tallahassee on an AMTRAK-FLORIDA SYSTEM? "ZZZZZzzzzzz..."

California passenger rail success story
Railway Age, by Julian Wolinsky

A billion dollar investment is paying off in steadily rising ridership. Who says Californians are car-crazy?

If there are any doubts that an intercity passenger rail revival is truly under way in California, a few significant statistics will put those uncertainties to rest. There are three state supported corridors: the Pacific Surfliner, the Capitol, and the San Joaquin. They carry 2.9 million passengers annually--nearly 15% of Amtrak's national total. The number of daily trains, now totaling 23, has been steadily increasing, and with each service expansion comes a surge of new riders. More than $1.2 billion has been invested by the state to upgrade right-of-way and rolling stock, and hundreds of millions of additional dollars are in the pipeline. As service has improved, so has ridership, confirming that a long suppressed market for train travel existed in California. If schedules are convenient and frequent, people will leave their cars at home.


New routes and more trains have been added. The Pacific Surfliner (formerly the San Diegan) has been expanded to 11 daily roundtrips between San Diego and Los Angeles. The line was also pushed farther north, to San Luis Obispo. Since 1990, more than $500 million has been invested in the Pacific Surfiner route.

The San Joaquins now operate five times a day, with one train running from Bakersfield to Sacramento using a newly upgraded segment between Stockton and Sacramento. There are seven daily Capitols from Sacramento to Oakland, with four continuing south to San Jose and two north from Sacramento to Roseville. Caltrans won the right to run up to 20 trains between Oakland and Sacramento in exchange for contributing $56 million in state funds to improve capacity of the UP-owned line (the railroad contributed an additional $10 million and did all the work). However, the link south of Oakland will remain capped at four trains until track and signal expansion takes place.

Besides bond money raised through taxes, a significant source of capital funds is the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which supports intercity rail, transit, and highway construction. It allocates about $1 billion annually, but 75% is awarded to local agencies that submit packages of favorite transit projects. Some communities have used their share to enhance the intercity rail system. They've renovated stations or built new ones and have added such passenger amenities as parking lots.

Although capital financing is relatively straightforward, obtaining operating subsidies is more complex. Each year Caltrans must request money from the legislature, which controls the Public Transportation Account. That program is funded by the sales tax on diesel fuel and a portion of the sales tax on gasoline. Half is earmarked for intercity rail, including Amtrak Thruway bus routes, and the remainder is allocated on a formula basis to local transit operators. Lawmakers must authorize spending from the fund; the money is not just doled out automatically. "We have no authority to spend anything unless the legislature gives it to us," explains Caltrans Rail Program Manager Warren Weber. "That's true of any program."

The farebox return on the three corridors by law must be at least 30% but is currently equivalent to that of the average public transit system. The pacific Surfliner, with a ridership of 1.57 million during the fiscal year ending last June 30, is the leader at 48%. Next are the San Joaquins (671,000 riders) at 42%, followed by the Capitols (684,000 passengers) at 32%. Such costs as interest and depreciation on Amtrak-owned equipment are not included. The Pacific Surfliner is Amtrak's second busiest service nationally while the Capitols are the fourth and the San Joaquins the fifth.

Amtrak has always been the system operator and rolling stock provider under a sole-source contract that's renewed annually. "There is no viable option," says Weber. "They are the only agency that's able to access the private railroads' rights-of-way at avoidable costs. In theory you could put it out to bid, but Amtrak's got the liability, the lockdown with the railroads, and they have the avoidable costs definition. We negotiate the price based upon ridership and revenue estimates. I don't think there's anybody that can compete with Amtrak." To help hold down costs, Caltrans negotiates a fixed price for Amtrak's general and administrative costs and for the use of its reservation system. Occasionally a locomotive or a couple of coaches have to be borrowed from Amtrak if the state-owned equipment is down for maintenance or repair, and Caltrans pays a rental fee. Planning is under way for construction of a $53 million joint Caltrans/Amtrak maintenance facility in Oakland, with the state contributing $30 million . Weber says this will further tie the two agencies together since Caltrans could not go to competitive bidding for maintenance work and still use the new shop.

California's intercity rail program isn't standing still. Future plans call for a significant expansion of existing routes and the inauguration of new lines. Gov. Gray Davis, a vocal and effective proponent of passenger rail, has gotten the legislature to back his policy of expanding rail transportation with taxpayer money. In July, he signed the Traffic Congestion Relief Plan, a $5.3 billion program that should leverage an additional $10 billion in federal funds. Unlike previous funding measures, which handed over most of the cash to highway builders, some two-thirds of this five-year package will be used for transit and passenger rail. "Rail is a vital component of California's transportation system," said Davis. "Increasingly, it represents the most efficient and practical means of reducing congestion in our urban transportation corridors."


From the Archive:
Why Not A Train To Gainesville?
In a day and age when urban rail is becoming vogue, and Bus Rapid Transit or BRT is the new battle cry of the highway side, is it time to revist the short distance train? Take a look at the famous "Del Monte", a one time daily train from San Francisco to Monterey and Pacific Grove. The train was well patronized and ran for 100 years, until a quirk in the Amtrak laws left all trains under 150 route miles in a commuter category and unavailable for rescue. Trains operated by commuter agencys kept right on rolling through Amtrak day back in 1971, all longer distance trains that made the cut switched over to Amtrak on that same date. Yet everything in between fell through the cracks. Today, the stage is set to obtain Amtrak-Federal-State and Local grants to revive many of these runs. The people in Monterey, California are already in a campaign to restore the "Del Monte".

Here in Jacksonville, we have the CSX mainline West from the Union Terminal to Baldwin, and hence Southward to Starke. At Starke, a well maintained branchline swings off for Alachua and Gainesville. The right of way into downtown Gainesville is intact, the tracks stop about one mile from the Station. With the "Gator Bowl" at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, with Shands Hospital in downtown, and with a new Shands teaching campus planned for the Northside, this could become a vibrant and busy little 60+ mile train route. We need to revisit this route, revive some of our history and tie downtown Jacksonville to downtown Gainesville... Let's just not call it "The Seminole".

DALLAS RIDES DART TO GLOBAL CITY STATUS...CAN WE RIDE JTA TO THE SAME DESTINATION?



DART SYSTEM MAP
DART LRV TRAIN


DART: Helping Grow A Great Global City
By Gary Thomas
President/Executive Director
Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Tomorrow's great cities will have great transit systems, and a trip around today's 45-mile DART Rail System shows rail has the power to drive land use and urban development in exciting and environmentally friendly directions. Now, as we work to more than double the rail system, leading-edge transit-oriented projects are emerging up and down the lines. And it's clear we're making tracks toward a great future, not only for Dallas but the entire North Texas region.

The Greening of DART Rail

Between September 2009 and December 2010, DART's Red and Blue lines will be joined by the 20-station, 28-mile Green Line stretching from the South Dallas/Pleasant Grove neighborhoods, through the Dallas city center, then northwest to Farmers Branch and Carrollton.

When fully operational, the Green Line will link thriving Stemmons-area employment centers to the South Dallas/Pleasant Grove neighborhoods where residents will outnumber jobs 3 to 1 in 2025. Along the way, the line will serve Deep Ellum, Baylor University Medical Center, Fair Park, Victory Park, the Dallas Market Center, the UT Southwestern Medical District and Love Field Airport.

A 14-mile branch called the Orange Line will extend from the Green Line's Bachman Station in northwest Dallas to the Las Colinas Urban Center by 2011, and to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport by 2013.

Delivering A New Urban Lifestyle/Generating Economic Returns

While DART continues to attract new riders, it's winning the hearts of city and chamber of commerce leaders as one of the most powerful economic engines ever to come along.

"To say DART Rail's impact has been substantial for the Dallas region's economy would be an understatement," said Dr. Bernard Weinstein, director of the University of North Texas Center for Economic Development and Research. "It's a trend that's impossible to miss; the local business community certainly hasn't."

Beyond the jobs and direct economic benefits generated by construction of the system, DART Rail is dramatically changing the urban landscape with more than $7 billion in current, planned and projected transit-oriented developments (TODs) springing up around station areas.

In a November 2007 study, Weinstein and colleague Dr. Terry Clower project transit-oriented development near DART Rail eventually will generate more than $46 million each year to area schools, $23.5 million to member cities, millions more to other local taxing entities.


View an Adobe PDF version of the study, Assessment of the Potential Fiscal Impacts of Existing and Proposed Transit-Oriented Development in the
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Service Area (Nov. 2007). (Opens in a new window.)

Nowhere is that trend more impressive than at Victory Park on the northern edge of downtown Dallas. The $3 billion development by Hillwood Capital flanks American Airlines Center with a new W Hotel and Victory Plaza, the forthcoming Mandarin Oriental Hotel, designer residences, office towers and shops and restaurants. DART Rail and the Trinity Railway Express currently provide special event service to Victory Station.

"Pedestrian activity and access to the rail station have been part of our thinking from the beginning," said Howard Elkus of Elkus-Manfredi Architects, urban planners for the project. "There's no doubt that transit-oriented development is exactly what everybody wants these days - and, because the DART station was there, we were able to think in those terms."

Delivering the Transit Lifestyle

With DART Rail coming soon, communities with stations on the new Green and Orange rail lines are planning mixed-use projects to capitalize on the power of transit.

In Carrollton where there is no land left for large-scale subdivisions, city planners see TOD as the key to maintaining standards and services without raising taxes.

"Citizens have embraced the concept of redevelopment around the three stations, which will create a more urban lifestyle oriented towards the pedestrian with a mixture of high density residential, office and retail places," said Peter Braster, Carrollton's transit-oriented development manager.

In Dallas, First Worthing's Cityville at Southwestern Medical District has begun first-phase leasing of 263 apartments and 43,000 square feet of retail. Described as "an urban oasis - near the energy and excitement of Downtown Dallas," Cityville residents can easily tap that energy with the opening of the Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station in 2010.

North Irving's Las Colinas Urban Center is seeing perhaps its biggest boom since the 1980s with much of that activity envisioned around the Lake Carolyn Station opening in 2011. The Lofts at Las Colinas have already opened with 341 units near the station site, and Water Street on Lake Carolyn promises a bustling urban mix of shops and restaurants, high-end condos and apartments, a boutique hotel and office space.

Rethinking the Inner City

Existing DART Rail stations continue to attract new development. Mockingbird Station, the region's first landmark transit village, is expanding with 23,000 square feet of new shopping and dining opening in January 2008. Matthews Southwest is bringing new life to downtown Dallas' South Side with The Beat, a 10-story, 75-unit condo project under construction next to the developer's successful South Side on Lamar community at Cedars Station.

Park Lane, a $500 million project under construction at the former NorthPark East complex at Park Lane and Central Expressway, will feature more than 330,000 square feet of office space, a hotel, more than 650 residential units and 750,000 square feet of retail - all with direct access to Park Lane Station.

In the heart of downtown at Akard Station, The Mosaic is pre-leasing at a steady rate while construction continues on 440 apartments in the former 31-story Union Tower complex.

"Quite a few people who come to look at our models say, 'Oh, the DART station is right here too,' " said leasing consultant Deborah Mock. "DART is one of the tools we use every time we show the property."

DART Rail has also attracted business to existing office space near the rail lines. After moving out of the CBD in 1992, the professional services firm KPMG returned a decade later, consolidating two groups in an office tower steps from St. Paul Station.

"In the past a number of companies elected to relocate outside of downtown because of the cost of parking," said Carl Ewert, executive vice president of The Staubach Company, which arranged the move. "Today, though, things are different. One of the key ingredients for the consolidation of KPMG back downtown is DART."

Connecting people to jobs, stimulating economic growth, creating opportunities in a growing global city - that's what DART is all about.

BERKLEY EXPERT ATTACKS BUS RAPID TRANSIT


photo: Thanks to MetroJacksonville.com

News:
Retired UC Berkeley Traffic Expert Casts Wary Eye on Bus Rapid Transit Plans
By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday April 01, 2008

Richard Brenneman
Wolfgang Homburger speaks about Bus Rapid Transit to members of the Berkeley City Commons Club.For Wolfgang Homburger, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) provides the wrong solution to East Bay traffic and environmental concerns.

A traffic engineer who served on the faculty of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies for 35 years, Homburger said projects that involve construction and lead to ceremonial ribbon-cuttings lure political figures far more than do projects that involve upkeep and maintenance.

“When’s the last time you saw a ribbon-cutting for maintaining a building?” he asked members of the Berkeley City Commons Club, who had invited him to speak on East Bay transportation issues Friday.

“AC Transit wants to spend capital funds,” he said, “which is money with a ribbon-cutting at the end.”

Homburger said BRT makes sense in cities like Sacramento, Los Angeles and Pittsburg, where rights of way either follow abandoned rail lines or occupy new lanes built for the purpose.

Taking away existing traffic lanes can only lead to political backlash, he said, citing the case of an experiment on the Santa Monica freeway where an existing lane was taken away for carpools and buses. “It lasted about 12 weeks,” he said.

The BRT proposal now under consideration by AC Transit includes a proposal for creating a bus-only lane along Telegraph Avenue, a notion which has drawn the anger of neighbors and businesses along the thoroughfare.

“I am very skeptical of the existing proposal,” he said, “though I am in favor of parts of it, including controlled traffic signals” and a new ticketing system that would speed up the entry of passengers onto the buses.

Berkeley hasn’t grown since 1950, he said, nor has El Cerrito, while the populations of Richmond and Albany have declined, leaving Oakland the only city with some growth in the last half of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st.

Bay Area transportation is complex, he said, with 30 agencies involved in running public transit systems, and only one, the privately owned Tiburon Ferry, operating independently of public financing.

“I once advocated a birth control program for public agencies,” he said, smiling. “But our brightest graduate students are doing very well in them because there’s plenty of jobs.”

And while traffic engineers and systems designers think in terms of creating works that last for decades, the public is far more fickle. “Pity a poor engineer who has built a facility for 50 years and after five years the public has changed its mind.”

Another problem transportation system operators face is the thorny question of just who really does speak for the public.

He cited one project in San Francisco, where a group of self-proclaimed public leaders called for and won a project to widen sidewalks at the expense of on-street parking. The moment jackhammers set to work, neighbors started asking what was happening, and within 48 hours the project had been abandoned. “It turned out that the people who worked with the city weren’t representative of the neighborhood,” he said.

Successful transportation designs arise from working with neighbors, he said, citing the 1960s case of a 10 by 12 block business area of Richmond where owners wanted four-way stops at all the intersections. Instead, engineers worked with the neighborhood and came up with a system of street closure and forced turns that won wide support, ensuring the City Council’s approval.

Some plans are so outrageous that failure is a virtual certainty.

LIGHT RAIL - COMMUTER RAIL DEBATE RAGES IN EAST COAST'S 3RD LARGEST CITY


Amtrak at Jacksonville. Don't even mention that Amtrak could play a part in the debate, you'll be told to sit down and stay on the subject. The subject? Yes, the JTA way or "Trailways".


DOES JTA LACKS THE VISION OR THE $&!@#^* FOR RAIL
Originally created 060208
Train study to look at use of private tracks

JTA wants to know the feasibility as it considers adding light rail.
By LARRY HANNAN, The Times-Union

Bill Lewis knows the practical reasons for bringing a commuter rail system to Northeast Florida. He just prefers to focus on the fanciful. "A train would be wonderful because it's a romantic way of traveling," the 65-year-old Jacksonville resident said. "A bus just isn't the same."

Lewis does have practical reasons for hoping a passenger rail system is built in Jacksonville, though. Gas prices of $4 a gallon and traffic congestion make rail much more attractive, he said.

The question is whether the premise will be supported by the findings of a $400,000 study being done for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. The feasibility study by Gannett Fleming Inc. of Pennsylvania is expected to be completed early in 2009.

This study will look at where rail service could go by using some existing rail lines owned by private companies, CSX and Florida East Coast Railway. In addition to Jacksonville, service would go to St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs and Yulee.

JTA does not want to build new tracks and the study will look at using the existing rail lines, said James Boyle, regional transportation planner for JTA.

Still to be determined is how much such service would cost and what type of trains would be used.

While no decisions will be made until the study is completed, JTA officials have said they believe commuter rail is coming to Jacksonville.

JTA Chairman Cleve Warren said it's important to have all the details. He believes commuter trains are coming, but cautions it might not be in the immediate future.

Long-term, JTA needs to look at expanding bus routes and starting water and rail transportation to deal with growth, Warren said.

With the price of gas going up, the idea of commuter rail service is exciting to people in the Jacksonville area, Boyle said. People seem more open to the idea than they have in the past, he said.

Reader reaction would suggest just that. Jacksonville.com readers were asked Wednesday to e-mail comments about whether they thought commuter rail was a good idea. More than 90 people posted comments online and 30-40 people e-mailed the paper. Most expressed support for commuter rail.

Arlington resident Eric Johnson, 46, who works on University Boulevard, said light rail with parking is needed around exits to Interstate 95 and Interstate 10 near Jacksonville.

A rail system also should go to major shopping areas around town and congested parts of Interstate 295, Johnson said.

Mandarin resident Susan Jackson, 37, said if commuter rail came to Philips Highway and Butler Boulevard more people from Southside and Mandarin would use it to go downtown.

Orange Park resident Mike Forde, 52, said commuter trains would be great if used correctly. But he doesn't think there is a rail system now in place that would make commuter trains feasible.

No one will use commuter trains just because they exist. They will have to offer a balance of convenience and cost effectiveness greater than what is now available, he said.

Let's look between the lines here:

"JTA does not want to build new tracks and the study will look at using the existing rail lines, said James Boyle, regional transportation planner for JTA."

Now James seems to be a bright and fine young planner, however, let's get real here. How do you pull off rail without building some track? It IS possible to run commuter trains on freight railroad tracks, it is done all over the USA and world.

Even Light Rail CAN share tracks as long as there is a clear time for each mode to access the tracks so they don't mix. But James, how do we access the line to Northside, Airport and Yulee without rebuilding the old "S" line through Springfield?

How do we get on the busy FEC to St. Augustine without some extra passing tracks? And how does one come into the old Union Terminal when we have torn out EVERY SINGLE PASSENGER track? How indeed?

"The question is whether the premise will be supported by the findings of a $400,000 study being done for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority."

The first $75,000 dollars was blown just teaching these out-of-towners where "Beach Blvd goes"... This left us with a study of some $325,000 dollars. Very serious money to you and I, but did you know the recent work to study wood rot on the Southbank Riverwalk cost us just under $1 Million? How does a thing like that work? Does some guy pocket that check and then walk down the Riverwalk kicking boards and marking his clipboard..."Uh yeah, dat one looks rotten...ooh and dis one too!" Come on Jacksonville is JTA serious or are we being played for bus riding peasants again?

"JTA Chairman Cleve Warren said it's important to have all the details. He believes commuter trains are coming, but cautions it might not be in the immediate future."

"Long-term, JTA needs to look at expanding bus routes and starting water and rail transportation to deal with growth, Warren said."

READ IT! These guys are still thinking rail in the year 2525. Note the order of Warren's statement, Bus Routes... then Water (which has already been shown to be unfeasible on a large scale)... then rail. His words speak volumes. This whole study could be a crafted item to get the Light Rail and Commuter Rail Community to SHUT UP. JTA claims it needs friends, it wants OUR support. They want us to speak up and be heard, as long as we say what they want us to say... FAT CHANCE FROM THIS BLOG. But hey, if you disagree, post it.

How did that movie go? "STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES?"

Florida - JACKSONVILLE WARNED - Over Commuter Rail Fumbles



Photos: Rep. John Mica, R-Florida
CSX Trout River Bridge on Jacksonville Northside

FLORIDA WARNED OVER COMMUTER RAIL FAILURES

Mica Warns Florida Officials Over CSX DealPosted May 2, 2008 by Lindsay PetersonUpdated May 2, 2008 at 04:21 PM

U.S. Rep. John Mica, a long-time advocate of the deal to pay CSX more than half a billion dollars as part of a Central Florida commuter rail project, has sent Gov. Charlie Crist and state Senate leaders a letter warning of dire consequences to Florida federal transportation projects if deal doesn’t go through.

Earlier this afternoon, he called state Sen. Mike Fasano’s office with a message for Fasano’s aide. The aide noted:

“Congressman Mica called again. He asked me to send you the message that he is greatly concerned about the commuter rail issue. He said he is willing to close down all transportation projects down until this issue is dealt with. He mentioned the possibility of asking the governor for a special session if this issue is not dealt with.”

The deal is facing trouble in the final hours of the state legislative session, and its most prominent supporter, state Sen. Dan Webster, has declared it dead.
Mica also wrote a letter today on his office stationery to Gov. Charlie Crist, Senate President Ken Pruitt, Majority Leader Dan Webster and Minority Leader Steve Geller.

It read:
“Dear Gov. Crist and Members of the Florida Senate:
“As the Legislature concludes its business, it is absolutely imperative that the legislature grant final approval to proceed with the Central Florida Commuter Rail project. Failure to do so will have dire consequences affecting all transportation projects and federal transportation infrastructure revenues to the state, affecting all districts.

“Members of the Crist administration and the Legislature should know that in 2009, the Congress will be required to take up a new five-year transportation and infrastructure project authorization bill. Inaction by the Legislature on this project will significantly damage Florida’s credibility and standing on every future project that requires federal authorization. I have today consulted with Congresswoman Corinne Brown who chairs the Railroad Subcommittee, and who is my senior Democratic Transportation and Infrastructure Committee colleague in the House, and she joins me in expressing our concern at this critical juncture.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of improving this project prior to the conclusion of this session, or if necessary, a special session of the Legislature.

“Sincerely,
“John L. Mica”

TAKE A FREE TOUR OF THE JACKSONVILLE SKYWAY

The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

Support the Skyway? Join the Monorail Society Today!

Subscribe to monorailsociety
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

WELCOME ABOARD

Sign by Danasoft - For Backgrounds and Layouts