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Lakeland Picks Spot For High-Speed Rail Station

Florida's governor may be stalling on high-speed rail, but the city of Lakeland is pressing on.

After robust debate over where a Lakeland stop along the proposed route should be, the city commission resolved on Feb. 7 to recommend the Clark Road/SR 570 site where I-4 and the Polk Parkway meet. Other locations considered were Kathleen Road and USF Polytechnic.

Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields says the recommendation was decided after a careful study of resources to ensure the decision was fiscally responsible.

"The city commission and I have been very consistent about the importance of being fiscally responsible with how taxpayer resources are invested in this transportation approach," says Fields. "We have also been unwavering in our belief that this must be a successful system and any decisions we make must put the system's success first. That means we need to do our part to make sure the ultimate operator has the best chance to succeed financially in deploying this new mode of transportation."

It remains to be seen whether the stop, or the rail system itself, will materialize any time soon, however.

Gov. Rick Scott asked for a review of all projects making use of federal funds, including Florida High Speed Rail. And earlier in February, he declined further federal government assistance to help support the state's unemployed.

In a letter dated Jan. 21, Mayor Fields officially supports high-speed rail and its value to the state's economy and global competitiveness.

"I remain committed to doing all I can to help bring high-speed rail to Florida and want to assist the governor in fully evaluating this great opportunity that will call on us to lead our country in the deployment of a new mode of transportation that will greatly improve our economic competitiveness and attractiveness," Fields says.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Gow Fields, City of Lakeland

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