LETTER: COST OF HIGH SPEED RAIL WILL BE HIGHER THAN PROPOSERS CLAIM

Publish Date: 
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 9:15am

Letter from Alice Johnson, Vero Beach to TCPalm

I believe that the All Aboard Florida project can't be built for the announced budget of $2.1 billion. I have researched The Reason Foundation, Acela financial statements, the Internet and many news articles on other high-speed rail projects.

New tracks from Cocoa to Orlando: The cheapest estimate for new high-speed rail construction was $30 million per mile, or $1 billion for the new tracks. The San Francisco-to-Los Angeles and Milan-to-Turin high-speed rail projects currently under construction are costing $130 million per mile, or $4.5 billion for 35 miles.

Track upgrades from Miami to Cocoa: Amtrak is budgeting $19.5 million per mile to upgrade 23 miles of existing track in New Jersey, which is already double tracked. Because AAF is building a second track and installing quiet corridors along much of the route, the cost per mile will probably be the same or $3.6 billion.

Rolling stock: AAF has announced it will buy 10 train sets. According to the U.S. Inspector General, this will cost from $300 million to $700 million.

Train stations: AAF has announced that it will spend $209 million to build new stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

My research indicates that the AAF project will cost a minimum of $5 billion. At the upper end, it could cost $9 billion.

I predict that the $1.6 billion government loan will be in default before the first passenger train leaves the station, leaving half-finished track improvements which benefit only Florida East Coast Railway.