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July 14th - Phoenix Rising in the Sunshine State

What happened in Florida? Not talking about the Covid 19, but talking about the rise, fall and rise again of high speed speed rail in Florida over the past 12 years, and more importantly what this experience means for California.

High speed rail in Florida goes back over 20 years, with plans put in place for a Tampa to Orlando as far back as 2003. In 2008, word of $8 billion of funding becoming available for high speed rail flashed through the nation. Ohio and Wisconsin got approved for funding, but then refused it. That money then went to Florida where an Orlando to Tampa bullet train appeared likely (with JR Central even part of the plan), but then Rick Scott became Governor and Florida became like Wisconsin and Ohio and cancelled their high speed rail project.

Unlike Ohio and Wisconsin, a new private plan was to rise out of the ashes of the Florida high speed rail project. Florida East Coast Railways would start All Aboard Florida...which would morph into Brightline/Virgin Trains USA. Today Virgin Trains USA operates between a new Miami Central Station and West Palm Beach. However, in 2022 Virgin Trains will extend to Cocoa Beach and Orlando. At which point it will be highly likely that Virgin Trains will become the predominant transportation option between the 19 largest tourist destination in America (Miami) and the Number 1 Tourist Destination in America (Orlando). source: Best Choice Reviews.

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