Florida Set To Launch Country's First Private High-Speed Train Service
The country's first private high-speed rail service is opening this month in Florida, promising to transform congested South Florida highways by taking as many as 3 million cars off the road.
The ambitious $3 billion Brightline express project will run along the state's densest population corridor with more than 6 million residents and a regular influx of tourists. The project, funded by All Aboard Florida, represents the first test into the long-awaited U.S. move into high-speed rail, says John Renne, director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University.
"It's the first time that it's happening, being built by a private company," he tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson. "And that's kind of a game changer for this type of model."
All Aboard Florida has yet to confirm the price of Brightline tickets. A 2015 study commissioned by the company suggests it will cost at least $16 to travel from West Palm to Miami – about $10 more than the price to travel a similar route on South Florida's government-run passenger train.
Even though All Aboard Florida refers to Brightline as "high-speed rail," Renne says the actual speed pales in comparison to trains overseas. He says Brightline trains will max out at about 120 mph, and will run even slower – around 80 mph – during the rollout.