With work underway on a federally funded high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, discussions about seeking funds for a stop on the system at Tampa International Airport went nowhere at a Wednesday Hillsborough County Commission budget meeting.
Hillsborough County Commissioners had sought information on joining with the City of Tampa to issue a resolution seeking federal funding for a stop at TIA as part of the $1.25 billion in federal stimulus money already allocated to construct a high-speed rail system along the I-4 corridor.
County planning officials told commissioners today that any thought of a stop at TIA has been scrapped, which the commission accepted without comment. The move comes because the size and speed of trains on the planned high-speed rail system could not be sustained by the infrastructure at the airport, a Florida Department of Transportation official tells The Florida Independent.
Meanwhile, the construction of a light-rail system connecting Hillsborough County to a stop on the high-speed rail system in downtown Tampa remains in voters’ hands.
Hillsborough will be deciding the fate of a penny sales tax referendum on the ballot in November, some of which, if approved, would go towards the construction of a light-rail system that would connect key areas of Hillsborough to high-speed rail stops in Tampa.
Work on a high-speed rail system connecting Tampa and Orlando has begun with surveys, real estate appraisals, and soil sampling along I-4.