Hi Speed Rail Line Work Begins

Engineers have begun testing the soil along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando to prepare the ground for the high speed tracks in 2012. Workers are also surveying, doing real estate estimates, appraisals and property searches. The state owns 93% of the land needed, the other 7% will need to be acquired through willing sellers or eminent domain. Most of the land is located along the I-4 corridor.

Florida is slated to receive $1.25 billion in stimulus funds for the project and additional federal funds were promised in the future. Construction of the project will add 5,000 jobs each year, with 11,000 jobs at the height of construction. A future link between Orlando and Miami is in the planning stages.

When complete in 2015, it will become the first true high speed rail line in the country that runs on its own dedicated tracks. It will take less than 1 hour to ride between Tampa and Orlando. An estimated 2 million passengers will ride each year. There are 5 planned stops: Downtown at the Old Morgan St. jail, Polk County, Walt Disney World (Disney donated the land for the stop), the Orlando Convention Center and the Orlando International airport. There are no plans for a stop at Tampa International Airport, because it is already part of the proposed light rail plan.