Proposals to build the nation's first high speed rail passenger system will be unveiled here March 28, the Florida High Speed Rail Transportation
Several companies are expected to show their proposals to build and operate the system.The proposed 300-mile system will link the Tampa, Orlando and Miami urban areas. Studies suggest it would carry as many as 2.5 million passengers a year at speeds of at least 120 miles per hour. Cost estimates range from $2 billion to $5 billion.
Applicants have had to submit a $35,000 initial fee and provide enough copies of their applications for distribution to as many as 200 affected local governments along the proposed routes.
According to officials of the commission, proposals are expected to include magnetic levitation concept systems in addition to more conventional high speed technology.
Following review by the commission, state environment and growth management agencies and local authorities, the commission expects to award the franchise by September 1991.
Each applicant will propose train technology, the corridor that will link the three urban areas, and the location of stations. Also, applications will discuss how environmental impact will be mitigated and how growth management
plans will apply.
Each proposal will have a plan for financing the system. Property development along or near corridors, or other financing mechanisms are to be included. Service operation is expected to be financed by passenger fares, but will not cover the full capital cost.
Florida's High Speed Rail Act provides that the state may make transportation right of way available to the franchisee, if requested.
According to commission spokespersons, applicants may list any legislative changes required to carry out their plans. The commission will review proposals and determine which requests, if any, should be forwarded to the legislature.