Retrofitting rails for All Aboard Florida will not work

Publish Date: 
Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 3:00pm

Letter to the Editor: June 11th, 2014 Harry James Bruce, Palm Beach Gardens Source Article Miami Herald

High-speed passenger rail service, when justified, can be a marvelous achievement to satisfy the mobility requirements of a densely populated society.

The passenger trains of Japan, England, Germany, France and Spain are outstanding examples of fast, safe, luxurious train travel. But remember, these are all national rail operations built and operated by their governments to meet the needs of their citizens.

These national train systems, as well as passenger trains, operate at a substantial deficit and require billions in tax revenue subsidies, each year in order to remain safe and sound enterprises.

In All Aboard Florida we have a much different situation. The new owners of Florida East Coast Industries are bound and determined to fashion a silk purse out of sow’s ear. High-speed rail, when properly developed, requires original equipment manufacture and design engineering.

But what is being proposed is a retrofit in, on and around an already existing freight railroad structure. In my opinion this is not the product of sound engineering.

It is the product of uninformed entrepreneurs believing they have discovered the Rosetta Stone holding the secrets of profitability in rail passenger service.

If the hiring of top talent from the hospitality industry and the bestowing of multiple presidential titles is the elixir for a heretofore unprofitable business, then I am eager to learn and will be the first to offer congratulations and my apology.

There is just one question my fellow citizen taxpayers should ask of the All Aboard Florida executives and government leaders:

Why are they proposing to build and finance rail passenger service that has proven, worldwide, to be unsustainable as a private-sector enterprise?

Unfortunately, the taxpaying public is stuck with this great elevated train robbery.

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