Economic Impact Analysis on a High-Speed Railway System for Central Florida
High-speed railway (HRL) systems have been used primarily over in such countries as Japan since 1964 and France since 1984. Recently the United States has generated interest in the high-speed railway as well. The proposed system would stretch from Miami through Orlando and end in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area. With bullet trains operating at top speeds of 220 miles an hour, the express travel time from downtown Miami to Orlando would take approximately 2.5 hours. Intercity travelers (trips between metropolitan regions) along with longer-distance commuters would enjoy the benefits of a system designed to connect with existing rail, air, and highway systems. The strategy behind the high-speed railway system would be to relieve highway congestion, air traffic congestion, and help reduce the necessity of expansion of highways and air systems (which is limited due to the inability to build new air space). Also, with this type of system (this system works on magnetic levitation), you would have a significant reduction in air pollution that would result as high-speed captures a large portion of the intercity travel market from automobiles and airlines.
The chosen locations for the high-speed railway will be three different cities, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa/St.Petersburg area. The economic and industrial structures for Tampa has created more than 22,000 jobs May 2004, ranking the area #1 in Florida and among the best in the nation for job growth. Job gains in the region were largely in professional and business services. Florida is creating jobs faster than any other state in the nation, adding 171,800 jobs from May 2003 to May 2004. Tampa/Hillsborough County with its dynamic and positive business climate is one of the leading business locations in the world. As the economic hub of Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay region, Tampa enjoys ongoing and remarkable job growth, affordable business and living costs, an able and abundant workforce, excellent educational opportunities, and unmatched weather and amenities. Service, retail, finance, insurance, and real estate sectors lead regional industry. Bioscience and other high-tech industries are expanding, thanks in part to research at university and college campuses throughout the area. Manufacturing is also experiencing increased growth as the regional economy continues to diversify. Yet costs stay low: Tampa Bay's Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) comprised of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, ranks 3rd among all U.S. metro areas for low business costs, according to a KPMG 2004 study. Tampa/Hillsborough County's median home price increased by approximately 17 percent in 2004 yet is still around $170,000 far below that of most MSAs. Among more than 300 U.S. urban areas, the regional cost of living remains about 6 percent lower than the average. (Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, 2004)
Sky Line of Tampa Bay at Night
The population area of Orlando experienced a 2.62 percent growth rate from 1998 to 2003. The population estimate for 2004 was 1.84 million people and, according to the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Metro Orlando is expected to rank first in the nation in terms of total employment growth and population growth through 2008. Between 2000 and 2010, population is expected to grow by 21 percent, whereas employment is expected to grow by 22.1 percent. Furthermore, Metro Orlando is projected to be among the nation's fastest-growing regions throughout this decade.
The Orlando population is young, diverse and well-educated, with a median age of 35. The community's labor force exceeds 1,000,000 and boasts a 48.8% employment rate. As of 2004, the Orlando MSA median household effective buying income was $39,285,...