Effort to Kill Brightline Fails.
What is it with Florida, anyway? A decade ago, their governor, Rick Scott, refused federal money from the Obama Administration to build a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa and Orlando.
More recently, a relative handful of people have tried everything possible to kill or, failing that, to delay the Brightline passenger trains that will soon be running up and down the east coast of the state between Miami and Orlando.
There have been town meetings and petitions and op-ed pieces and, most recently, the anti-train folks got a state senator to introduce a bill that would have required all kinds of hoop-jumping by the railroad, but danced all ‘round the real intent: a slow, painful death for Brightline.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Debbie Mayfield, a Republican, of course. It would have heaped a number of “safety” requirements on the railroad, essentially intended to dramatically increase costs to the railroad and cause more delays, perhaps even making the entire project financially unworkable.
Many millions have already been invested in Brightline and the first trainset has already been delivered, so it was welcome news that cooler heads in the Florida legislature have prevailed. Senator Mayfield’s bill has died in committee.
Brightline’s parent company, Florida East Coast Railway, says the passenger train should begin West Palm Beach-Fort Lauderdale-Miami service toward the end of summer, with the West Palm-Orlando segment completed sometime next year.