ConnectUs, Inc., said that it and its coalition of business, labor and environmental groups had sent letters of support and endorsement to U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood in support of Florida's application seeking $30 million for the Preliminary Engineering and NEPA Environmental studies for the Orlando-Miami corridor.
"This is the first
demonstration of the advantages of working together," said ConnectUS President
Ed Turanchik. "We have organizations from around the state supporting the
Florida Department of Transportation’s Orlando-Miami application. We all get
the big picture and will continue to work together to see it happen."
Department of Transportation decided to split the Tampa-Orlando-Miami project
into two separate applications in order to comply with federal funding
criteria. The August 26 application is under Track 1B and is limited to initial
engineering and environmental studies for the Orlando-Miami corridor. The Florida Department of
Transportation will submit a Track 2 application on October 2, 2009 for $2.5
billion for the Orlando-Tampa corridor.
study will look at two specific corridors. The first would run from Orlando International Airport along
the Beach Line to I-95 and would provide service to Cocoa Beach and Melbourne
plus south Florida. The second alignment would run from Orlando International
Airport along the Florida Turnpike to Ft. Pierce and then to South Florida. Both
alignment options would serve West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and end in Miami
at the Miami Intermodal Center.
coalition members supporting the application include Broward Workshop, Florida
Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO, Florida Audubon, Greater Miami Chamber of
Commerce, Central Florida Partnership, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, South
Florida Business Alliance, Tampa Bay Partnership and Tampa Downtown
ConnectUs is a
Florida not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of supporting
Florida’s application for high-speed-rail funds from the federal government.
The organization was launched August 18, 2009, and in less than five days has
more than 1,000 individual members.