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ORLANDO-It’s a bizarre scenario. A proposed $5-billion high-speed rail network, linking Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg and Miami is being touted as a magnet that would attract unprecedented commercial real estate activity and trigger equally unprecedented economic growth for the entire state.

But if voters go for the idea in the Nov. 7 elections, Florida would be compelled to build the largest public-works project in its 181-year-old history. An estimated 50 acres or two million sf of right-of-way land would be needed for the system.

Worse, say state road officials, the $5-billion enterprise would decimate Gov. Jeb Bush’s planned 10-year, $2.5 billion transportation improvement program for state-wide communities.

The bullet train proposal has been in the wings for at least 10 years. The idea never got off the ground because no private developer could ever calculate how to pay for the job.

Now a wealthy Lakeland, FL industrialist, C.C. Dockery, has succeeded in winning a Florida Supreme Court ruling that guarantees the rail initiative will be on the ballot for voters to decide.

Dockery estimates only a small, undetermined amount of state funds will be needed to back private loans that would finance the undertaking. His is the only aggressive voice so far supporting the venture.

State, county and city officials call the bullet-train venture misleading because the high-speed proponents can’t disclose how the project will be paid for.

Even if the Nov. 7 ballot item succeeds, state road experts say it would take at least four years to design the network, complete environmental studies and acquire the right-of-way dirt from private and public owners.

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