The Lakeland Civic Center hosted a group of businessmen, community
leaders and visionaries on March 24, 2010, who gathered to discuss the
high-speed rail proposed between Tampa and Orlando. It marked the first
meeting of its kind since President Obama announced that Florida would
receive $1.25 billion toward railway construction.
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields and Orlando Mayor Buddy
Dyer listened as representatives from the Tampa Bay
, Central Florida
, Florida Rail Enterprise and other entities
with a stake in the proposed rail system presented their findings and
plans related to the proposed route, which would run from Tampa's Ybor City
and the Orlando
"We start today to create a vision, a template for connectivity," says
Ed Turanchik, founder of ConnectUs
, a grassroots
"High-speed rail builds a bigger community from smaller ones."
Representatives from Florida Rail
presented an overview of
the high-speed rail plan, which provides for stops at USF Polytechnic
in Lakeland and
Kathleen Avenue locations, Walt Disney Resort
the Orange County Convention
Dyer of Orlando and Ronnie Duncan of the Tampa Bay Area Regional
Transportation Authority (TBARTA)
spoke about their region's plans for additional rail service to augment
transportation from the high-speed system to key locations throughout
Orlando and the Tampa Bay area.
These reports and others from Orlando's SunRail
and Tampa's transit
system sound promising, says Shelley Lauten, president of myregion.org
and project director of Connecting
for Global Competitiveness: Tampa Bay Central Florida Super Region.
The Tampa-Orlando rail line is designed to become part of a bigger
network that will link Orlando with Miami. Proponents of the plan say
construction along the Interstate 4 corridor could begin as early as
February or March of 2011, and conclude in 2015.
Source: Ed Turanchik, ConnectUs