28 November, 2009

The Florida Mystery

Traffic counts, road money down in Palm Beach Count
By Paul Quinlan
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer:
"In the next few years, the road program is not going to be able to build very many roads," said County Engineer George Webb. "But at the same time, if we don't have people moving in, we're not going to be that deficient."

As the number of drivers falls, service along the existing road network has improved. Only 2 percent of county roads are performing below their designed level of service, Webb said."

RAIL! Railroad track never has to be widened. Further if Palm Beach County is at a build out state so that only 2% of the roads are performing below expectations, then one would think we would be putting our focus on Rail and Tri-Rail. Our cities, Jacksonville, Miami, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando, TALLAHASSEE, and our State Leaders, have proved to be mental Neanderthals, in a sea of transportation brilliance.

California, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, even Oklahoma, are so far ahead of us we can't find them on radar. But we beg for Billions to build HSR from the Orlando Airport to an amusement park to a freeway interchange in Tampa. This poorly planned "Rat Rail" project coupled with a failure to properly fund Tri-Rail is going to cost all of us dearly.

Florida already has Amtrak Service, though we have allowed even that to decline from 12 trains daily to 4. We stood by to build a trail on the key West Palm Beach cut-off, between Auburndale, and Wildwood, and didn't say a word when Amtrak itself was fighting budget cutters in eliminating all service to Ocala, and Gainesville. We HAVE Amtrak, logic would dictate that the national rail passenger corporation be the tool with which to reach more for less.

Somewhere there must be a reward for this reckless behavior. Perhaps another 10 lanes? All of us have heard the expression "Tax and Spend," well maybe we are getting what we've asked for, my friends, welcome to the world of "Cut and Chop."


  1. Disneyland Paris is located 32 km east of Paris. There is a direct TGV (France's speed train) to the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station in the heart of the Disneyland resort from over 25 cities in France.

  2. If there were any kind of real leadership in Florida, someone would have pushed for some kind of conventional service years ago instead of jumping on the HSR bandwagon.

    I have never gotten while so many rail advocates in your state just stood by and let the end of S-Line passenger service happen besides them possibly putting all of their energies to keeping HSR as a constitutional requirement.

    Before the state can even be considered for HSR, it must be willing to let Amtrak or another agency run both long-distance and corridor service. People here in the Southeast have spent the money and have gone through the hard work to develop an HSR corridor--by adding routes, stations and frequencies. I just wish politicos would just slow down and take a look at the big picture instead of jumping on the "next big thing" du jour.

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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.

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