Sometimes I feel like Chevy Chase proclaiming, week after week, that Franco, by which I mean Florida’s high-speed rail, is still dead. Yet people are still trying to revive Florida’s high-speed boondoggle. The latest is a just-released ridership projection showing that the rail line, if built, would earn an operating profit as soon as it opened.
The original projections (see page 9) estimated that the Tampa-to-Orlando train would carry 2.7 million riders in 2015 and 3.2 million in 2020. Based on fares of about $20 a ticket and operating costs of about $50 million a year, the line would initially require an operating subsidy but would cover its operating costs after 2020.
The new projections say the train would carry 3.2 to 3.6 million riders in 2016. That’s enough riders to cover its operating costs right away–assuming the cost and fare projections are correct. The new analysis uses the same costs and fares as the state’s.