West Palm Beach, Florida. – More than 75 Triangle leaders, including dozens of government officials, traveled to West Palm Beach, Fla., this week to learn about the city’s public transportation.
WRAL’s Bryan Mims accompanied the Regional Transportation Alliance to see what plans local leaders were considering for Wake County.
Florida has a high-speed rail line, Brightline, which connects Miami to West Palm Beach. The Brightline is the nation’s only entirely privately funded city-to-city passenger train. It runs on the government-owned Florida East Coast Railway between Miami and West Palm Beach, moving at 79 miles per hour.
“Our seats are bigger than a first-class airplane cabin, not to mention you can also get food and drinks while you’re on board,” Ali said. Soule, vice president of community relations at Brightline.
In 2023, the train will begin rolling to Orlando, 170 miles north, at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour.
Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal said she was looking forward to seeing a “well-balanced” public transport system in the Triangle.
“There is a process of building trust and a process of transparency that needs to happen,” she said.
The goal of this week’s 3-day tour, according to the RTA, is for “the public and private sectors to demonstrate a shared committee to learn together for the future of the region.”
Sig Hutchinson, chairman of the Wake County Commissioners, said the Triangle will have a commuter rail by 2030, with half the cost paid for with federal dollars.
Hutchinson said travel in Raleigh will only get worse as more people move to the area.
“If someone else takes public transit, that’s one less person you have to fight on the way to work,” he said.
Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said commuters need the options West Palm Beach already has.
“The Triangle region is likely to double in population in the next 30 years,” he said. “We need to think about these things now, otherwise it’s going to be an expensive retrofit in the future.”