Officials taking bids for Orlando-Tampa high-speed rail

Author: Associated Press
FILE: Gov. Rick Scott addresses the Florida delegation during the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Stan Chambers Jr./WINK News)

Florida officials are taking bids for a privately funded high-speed rail connection from Orlando to Tampa.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that the Florida Department of Transportation has begun the process to allow for private investment, emphasizing that any project selected would have zero financial risk to Florida taxpayers.

Brightline, which operates high-speed rail in South Florida, confirmed that it has submitted an unsolicited bid to lease property owned by the state and the Central Florida Expressway Authority to build a high-speed train along Interstate 4. That’s prompted the state to open a transparent procurement process so any interested private entities may apply.

Scott rejected more than $2 billion in federal funds for a similar project in 2011. The governor says it would have exposed Florida taxpayers to millions of dollars of costs for decades.

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