Today President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be coming to Tampa for a town-hall meeting where the President will announce, as he stated last night in his State of the Union address, that he will be awarding federal stimulus money for Florida’s high-speed rail project. Yesterday the White House officially announced that it would be making “a major economic announcement,” presumably for the project, which officials had anticipated for some time. The state had asked for $2.5 billion in stimulus funds for the project.
Last night shortly before the State Of The Union address, I learned that the state will only be receiving about half the requested amount for the project, $1.25 billion, which is still expected to create 23,ooo construction jobs and will help stimulate business development. The proposed route will connect Tampa with Orlando along the I-4 Corridor, from downtown Tampa, through the Walt Disney World resort area, and ending at the Orlando International Airport, a trip estimated to take about 55 minutes. By car the same trip takes about 98 minutes.
The town-hall meeting will be held at The University of Tampa’s Plant Hall, a symbolic site named for Henry B. Plant, the entrepreneur who built an empire of railroads, steamships and hotels.
The meeting will start between 12:30 and 12:45 this afternoon and could run until 3:00 p.m. 1,000 tickets were handed out yesterday on a first come first serve basis and were gone in just 30 minutes. The meeting will be broadcast live on all three local NBC, ABC and CBS networks.