Broward News

All Aboard Florida Will Bring $6 Billion to State, Study Says

A local economic consulting firm released a study on Wednesday that says All Aboard Florida will add nearly $2.4 billion in jobs over the next eight years to Florida, and $653 million in tax revenue.

All Aboard Florida, which is a private rail service that plans on running a passenger train from Miami to Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, hired Coral Gables-based The Washington Economics Group Inc., to study the overall impact to the state.

And, as far as the group is concerned, it's all positive for Florida.

See also: All Aboard Florida Addresses Noise Concerns in Letter to Congressman Patrick Murphy

Among other things, the study says that the rail system would improve the existing rails laid down by Henry Flagler back in the 1890s through private investors. The study also claims that the state's roads and overall environment will be improved, calculating that around 3 million vehicles will be eliminated -- not to mention traffic congestion -- from the roads as a result of the rail system.

The study also says that downtown centers would be revitalized, particularly in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with stations located in both cities.

The Fort Lauderdale station would bring over 300 jobs and more than $121 million in labor income. Overall, Broward County would see 488 added jobs, and $54.8 million in labor income, according to the study.

The West Palm Beach station would create more than 170 jobs, with Palm Beach County seeing 952 overall jobs, and $107 million in labor income.

Of course, All Aboard Florida is being met with some resistance, particularly in Broward County.

Just last month, the railway company was forced to answer concerned brought up by Congressman Patrick E. Murphy over the noise pollution the 110-mph trains and their blaring horns would potentially bring, and the cost of erecting quiet zones.

All Aboard Florida answered by citing an environmental assessment study by the Federal Railroad Administration that found "no significant impact" in the route between Miami and West Palm Beach. The company also said the remainder of the proposed corridor is subject of an ongoing environmental impact statement.

The Federal Rail Administration is expected to release a full environmental impact study very soon.

The railway is also facing scrutiny from Fort Lauderdale boaters, who fear the rails will mean longer wait times at bridges and crossings, such as New River. The U.S. Coast Guard is also expected to weigh in on the rail system.

All Aboard Florida, which is owned by Florida East Coast Industries, plans to launch the passenger service in 2016.

Weg Economic Impact Summary by Chris Joseph

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph