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Florida to Spend $1.2 Billion on Questionable Rail Project

This post was originally published on the Public Notice: Bankrupting America Blog

Florida Representative John L. Mica (R) is lobbying for a $1.2 billion Central Florida commuter rail line. As reported in the New York Times, the Department of Transportation ranks the project as one of the nation’s “least cost effective mass transit efforts.”

Since 1992, Representative Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has fiercely advocated for the line, even though it will not link the “region’s biggest traffic generators” of Disney World and Orlando airport.

Sunshine State News explained that even if the proposed project is completed, the line is not expected to impact highway congestion, as the daily ridership estimate of 2,150 passengers is far less than the 3,000 commuters per hour that use nearby Interstate 4.

Even as Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) hesitates to embrace the project, the Department of Transportation has warmed to it for its possible positive economic and environmental effects. Still, the ultimate goal of the rail line has been questioned, with opponents suggesting that the project is a “taxpayer-financed gift” benefiting CSX freight rail more than the region’s residents.

At a time when Washington is unable to come together to tackle our $14.3 trillion debt, the last thing we need is more government spending on an ineffective, inefficient, and expensive rail line.

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