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DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Polk and Sumter counties of Florida


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High Speed Rail and the Green Swamp

For many reasons, including the fragmentation of wildlife corridors, Florida Sierra has supported the construction of a high speed rail link between Orlando and Tampa. The proposed route would be Interstate 4 which cuts through the Green Swamp. This new construction would provide an excellent opportunity to build new wildlife underpasses.

Resolution of Support

  1. WHEREAS, in November, 2000, the citizens of Florida voted to support the construction of high speed rail in Florida to reduce traffic and increase travel alternatives and
  2. WHEREAS, Sierra Club, a non-profit environmental organization, favors the most energy and land conserving, and least polluting systems of transportation and
  3. WHEREAS, the Sierra Club supports the federal High Speed Rail Investment Act which authorizes Amtrak to sell $10 billion in high speed rail bonds over ten years for the purpose of developing high speed rail corridors across the nation and
  4. WHEREAS, high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando would consume less than one-third as much energy per passenger as automobiles and one-tenth as much energy per passenger as airplanes and is less polluting than either form of transportation per passage and
  5. WHEREAS, high speed rail would promote smart growth by focusing growth at appropriately sited stations and transportation hubs thus reducing sprawl promoted by interstate highways and interchanges and
  6. WHEREAS, the local support system of light rail and other transportation alternatives connecting to high speed rail would facilitate safer transportation and easier access for all citizens especially youth, seniors, and the disabled and
  7. WHEREAS, the high speed rail from the Orlando International Airport to the Orange County Convention Center and Walt Disney World would be an ideal place to showcase fast reliable rail technology to business and leisure travelers throughout the world and
  8. WHEREAS, the citizens of Florida have repeatedly demonstrated support for preservation of native habitat, natural landscapes, and wildlife through funding of state and local preservation programs and protective environmental regulations and
  9. WHEREAS, the construction of a high speed rail link would provide an opportunity to retrofit interstate highways with much needed wildlife crossings to reduce wildlife mortality and to maintain wildlife populations;
  10. THEREFORE, the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club supports construction of a high speed rail line between Orlando International Airport and Tampa along existing interstate and expressway corridors.
  11. THEREFORE, the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club supports government financing of high speed rail for non-recurring costs such as engineering design, construction and land acquisition between the cities of Orlando and Tampa. While the Sierra Club does not support diversion of funds from existing environmental or other mass transit programs to fund high speed rail, the Sierra Club supports transportation related funding sources such as tolls on I-4 between Tampa and Disney World and increased gasoline taxes.
  12. THEREFORE, the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club supports the creation of an alliance with environmental groups, unions, homeowners associations, and businessmen to promote high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando and to support creation of local transportation connectors.
  13. THEREFORE, high speed rail alignments from Tampa to Orlando should be built along existing highway corridors in a manner that does not fragment wildlife corridors, adversely impact environmentally sensitive lands or fragment publicly owned conservation lands.
  14. THEREFORE, high speed rail should be designed with structures (underpasses, elevated segments, and crossover land bridges) to enhance wildlife movement and hydrologic functions. As a minimum, these should include the two large underpasses planned between CR557 and US 27 of 400 feet and 600 feet respectively.
  15. THEREFORE, Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club supports partnering of state or state authorized entities implementing high speed rail design and construction with state, local and federal environmental resource agencies at the earliest stages to identify environmental constraints and work diligently throughout the process to avoid or minimize their occurrences.
  16. THEREFORE, the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club should play an active role in assuring that any high speed rail system between any other urban location in Florida be sited and constructed in an environmentally sound manner.

Adopted by Florida Chapter of Sierra Club, June 16, 2001


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