Fluor to build central Florida bullet train system

Florida’s rail agency has selected Fluor-Bombardier to build a $2.5 billion bullet train system from Orlando International Airport to Tampa by way of the Walt Disney World resort.

The Florida High Speed Rail Authority voted 6-2 Monday to accept the bid from Fluor and Bombardier Transportation. The two companies built the infrastructure and provided trains for the Northeast corridor’s Acela high-speed rail system.

The only other bid was from Global Rail Consortium, a partnership with no experience developing a system as large as the Florida project. The consortium proposed an electric system with trains that could travel up to 250 mph.

Bombardier trains, which have operating speeds of 150 mph, are expected to be running in Orlando by 2009.

The rail authority also chose the trains’ route, which will bypass the Orange County Convention Center. The agency made the decision after Disney highlighted the revenue to be gained if the route followed the Central Florida Greeneway toll road instead of going first to the convention center, located in Orlando’s tourist district.

Disney said 2.2 million riders a year would travel to the resort by train, while the convention center could offer less than a quarter as many captive riders.