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WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Palm Beach County News - High Speed rail on fast track to come through West Palm Beach

High Speed rail on fast track to come through West Palm Beach

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The controversial high speed train that was shot down by Governor Scott is now back on the table and it will be making a stop locally. The big difference between the proposal then and the plan now, is that taxpayers will not be footing the bill for the high speed rail.

The Florida East Coast Railway is on the fast track to build a passenger train that will run from Miami to Orlando. It's called the All Aboard Florida Project and will be privately funded by the FEC. The trip will take a little more than three hours and is expected to cost between $60 and $70 dollars.

The trains won't be using the Tri-Rail tracks, they'll use the FEC tracks just east of the Tri-Rail. The trains will include business and coach class service with  gourmet meals and Wi-Fi.

Most days the Tri-Rail station in Boca Raton is packed with commuters who depend on the service to get to work. Since gas prices went up, train travel has sky rocketed. Bonita Brown has been taking Tri-Rail to work for more than a decade and has seen the increase.

"When I first started you could find a seat anywhere, now only standing room, everybody is taking the train," said Brown.

The Florida East Coast Railway is depending on that trend to continue. They're spending $1 billion to build a fast passenger rail service between downtown Miami and Orlando, with stops in Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

"I think it will be great benefit to travelers if they can provide convenient and inexpensive service between South Florida and Orlando," said Steve Abrams.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams is also the chairman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. He expects the new service to increase Tri-Rail's ridership even more.

"I think it will complement what they're trying to do and be a benefit to our riders," said Abrams.

The All Aboard Florida project will fill the void left by Governor Rick Scott who rejected federal funding last year for high speed rail service linking Miami, Tampa and Orlando. The trains will carry 400 passengers and use FEC's freight rail lines which will be double tracked.

The new service will create 6,000 temporary jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs. It's expected to start running by 2014.High Speed rail on fast track to come through West Palm Beach

Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:18 PM EDT

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