Mica almost positive of Amtrak-FEC corridor funds

At a special joint meeting of local commissioners and U.S. Congressman John L. Mica held yesterday in the Virginia Room of the Ringhaver Student Center of Flagler College, Congressman Mica says that he is “confident” of Amtrak funding.

Mica said Monday he is “almost positive” that $268 million for Amtrak commuter rail service along Florida’s east coast will be included in the next round of federal stimulus funding.

Everything from State Road 9B in the northeast to land acquisition in St. Augustine Beach and Main Street in Hastings was covered with area officials who were gathered to outline their needs in a special joint session.

The deadline for filing requests is less than three weeks away on February 26th.

On the Amtrak plan, which would use FEC rails and create stations in eight cities including St. Augustine, Mica said “they picked the biggest numbers” in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation is looking at $2.5 billion in the U.S. Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act as an alternative source of funds for the Amtrak FEC corridor project.

Nazih K. Hadda, FDOT passenger rail development manager, said these funds will be available this year.

Multimodal transportation was high on Mayor Joe Boles’ list, as he pointed out both Greyhound and Sunshine Bus systems now have stops at the Visitor Center, “and a train station a short distance away can make a strong multimodal network.”

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