New Passenger Train Routes Boost Florida’s Economy

June 23, 2014

Florida is catapulting to the vanguard of passenger train innovation. Long the anchor of a strong Amtrak route, and building on a quarter century of experience with South Florida Tri-Rail, Florida’s business and real estate leaders have begun taking note of America’s newest successful commuter-rail system, Orlando’s SunRail[1].

Now, two new projects are poised to further bolster our southeasternmost state:

  • All Aboard Florida, the new privately-funded, privately-operated passenger train between Miami and Orlando − under the aegis of Fortress Investment Group’s Florida East Coast Railway unit, and
  • Tri-Rail − the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, to be precise − is also planning to operate a new line with new stations on the FEC

All these would tie together with existing services at a new downtown Miami station, and at Orlando’s future airport station. Families young and old, retired and active, visitors and residents are discovering there is an escape from congested interstate highways, and leaving their cars behind. Already in Winter Park, restaurants and merchants are noticing an increase in foot traffic and sales on Fridays, when the lunch-time get-away trains are creating a mid-day rush hour. Trains, it seems, can and do bring our downtown districts back to life, and those who understand that are investing in business and real estate accordingly.

Sunday’s Miami Herald explains:

As traffic congestion worsens in South Florida, a plan to restore passenger service to the Florida East Coast Railway corridor that dates back to industrialist Henry Flagler’s first train service to Miami in 1896 is generating a buzz in the local real estate development community. Opportunity-minded investors are closely monitoring a two-tiered process that could ultimately result in regular daily train service from Miami to Orlando with multiple stops in between in various downtowns in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

To accommodate the proposed new passenger commuter service, plans call for the creation of nearly 30 train stations to be built east of Interstate 95 along the South Florida coast.

The creation of train stations for the planned passenger service is expected to trigger a wide array of indirect investment in the surrounding areas to develop everything from residential towers to retail centers, hotels to office buildings…

Ironically, the same train tracks that have historically meant lower prices and constant complaints about noise and traffic delays from nearby residents are expected to trigger a wave of new residential developments for individuals seeking easy access to planned passenger rail service…

Read the rest of the story in the Miami Herald, 22 June 2014.


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