Dr. Tony Villamil, former Undersecretary of Commerce and founder of Washington Economics Group says All Aboard Florida would have more than $6 Billion in positive economic impact.
By Jacob Engels
Opponents of the privately owned, operated, and maintained high speed rail project All Aboard Florida were dealt another blow yesterday when the economic impact report for the project was released. According to the WEB (Washington Economic Group), a leading economic consulting practice based in Florida, the project would add nearly $3.5 billion in GDP to the state of Florida’s economy.
In addition, an estimated $2 billion in added labor income and more than $600 million in tax revenues for Federal, State and Local Governments through 2021. The project is also expected to create more than 10,000 construction jobs on average per year during rail-line construction set to begin mid-2014 through mid-2016, according to the report.
A graphic released by All Aboard Florida.
“The All Aboard Florida passenger rail system is of significant importance to the State of Florida’s economic development and to all of the regions serviced by the modern and multimodal mass transportation All Aboard Florida operations,” said Dr. Tony Villamil, Founder and Principal, WEG. “The benefits accrued to the State and to the counties serviced along the route go beyond the quantifications of economic impact by encouraging further business development and providing support to key Florida industries such as travel and hospitality, while also improving the mobility of the labor force.”
Opponents of what would be the nation’s first privately run passenger rail system in decades have spent months claiming that the project would not add a significant positive impact, that it is unsafe, and that it would disrupt communities surrounding the rail system.
Earlier this month, All Aboard Florida announced it would increase the public input period from the required 45 to 75 days and upped their public meetings from 6 to 8, one in each of the counties where the rail would pass through. They also reiterated that they would be covering costs for safety improvements.
With the findings released in the economic impact report, All Aboard Florida has yet again neutralized another key talking point of those opposing the project – making the fast, sleek, and quiet high speed rail project a no-brainer.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org