We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: How could a Miami-Orlando train revitalize South Florida transit? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
Without overplaying the impact of this important transportation initiative, it will take time for this project to prove its worth to a skeptical public and community leaders. The implications are massive, impressive, proper and desirable when a viable option exists for moving between important cities and communities easily. We would take our place among the great countries and regions of the world that allow consumers, travelers and businesses to move about in the most efficient manner, enabling nearly seamless and effortless interaction for those who visit Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach and other connected cities. Connections with airports, buses, Metrorail, cruise ships, taxis and other transportation infrastructure in a most effective manner is critical to the success of such a venture. It could create a viable and desirable alternative to the present troubled state of affairs among our current transportation options. To ignore the possibilities is crass and short sighted. To those with a sense of building for a better future, we support these noble efforts.
Robert Burr, The Redland
So many other countries are light years ahead of us in regards to high-speed rail, and we continue to re-purpose infrastructure built 100 years ago. Who on earth is going to pay airline ticket prices for a train that is just barely faster than a car (and not at all if you consider when you arrive you have to again arrange transportation)?
Kai Xing, Pembroke Pines
A train could provide long drive commuting options between regions of Miami-Dade and Broward (in addition to Palm Beach and Orlando) reducing northbound and southbound congestion. A last mile solution would have to accompany such a scheme, such as Uber. Ultimately if we want more urban density then a more interconnected nodal system will be required, such as improved bus transit, additional bus transit options, rail and trolley systems. These intracounty systems will address last mile transit and local commuting options that reduce traffic congestion.
Kareem Brantley, Miami Beach
Who is going to take a train to Orlando, only to then have to rent a car to get to the Orlando attractions? And a tourist coming to Orlando and wanting to visit Miami would certainly prefer to fly to MIA. Carl Hiaasen had it right — this it a train wreck from the start.
David Auslander, Pinecrest
The Brightline has the potential to tie together two major elements of Florida’s economy: the global tourism hub of Disney/Universal and the global center of international trade and investment of Miami. It can feed inbound traffic into a “grand central station” type facility connecting to all other modes of transportation. It also fills one of the glaring gaps in Miami’s transportation offerings.
Seth Gordon, Miami
This new high-speed has been on the back burner for years. I’m glad to see that it is coming because it will mean that tourism will increase when visitors don’t have to pick between Disney World and Miami Beach. They will be able to choose one and take a quick day trip to the other easily. As to the high-speed train between Orlando and Miami alleviating our mass transit issues.. I don’t see how this will have any effect at all. Our problems stem from over-building without appropriate attention to providing adequate roadways to accommodate the massive boost in population. The majority of new homes being built in West Kendall, for instance, will be at least two cars per household to our roadways. If I am not mistaken, there are more than 30,000 new homes. I am experiencing the difference already even though they are only partially built.
Winnie Smith, Miami
Mass transit needs to be an absolute priority, and I’m likely to be optimistic about any public transportation plan. I use public transit every day to get to school, and I know I would personally make use of a Miami-Orlando train several times a year. I will be moving soon to Central Florida to continue my education and would definitely use a train to get there and come back home for the holidays.
Anya Contreras, Miami
I don’t think that a Miami-Orlando fast train will be able to improve transit or tourism until local transit is vastly improved. Perhaps, visitors to Orlando would be more likely to travel on to Miami, but, then be faced with difficulty getting to various local destinations. To be successful South Florida hubs must have dedicated transportation to the areas tourist want to go. Getting people here is one thing, but easily getting them where they want to go is the important part. There are so many amazing things to do and see in South Florida, it’s a shame to not make it easier for a tourist to experience it all.
Charles Peters, Miami
This is the single largest economic progress driver in the last century since Flagler first brought the railroad down Florida’s coast. I hope this opens people’s eyes to the spinoff benefits of transit as a community economic benefit and transportation option.
Alexander Adams, Coral Gables
Visitors might use it but residents would not. If the train was a true “high-speed rail” that is likened to those used in Europe and Asia, it would probably be better received. As it stands, this is a choo-choo on steroids that will not reach high speeds and cut down the time to travel there. I can drive it in the same amount of time using my car and taking the turnpike. Yawn.
Jim Angleton, Bay Harbor Islands