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ORLANDO-Still stunned by alleged Nov. 7 voting booth irregularities throughout the state, Florida legislators face an even thornier hurdle in four months when they convene in Tallahassee. The dilemma: Where to find an estimated $4 billion to build a 200-mile high-speed rail system linking the state’s largest urban centers.

Voters approved the project by a 53% to 47% margin after Lakeland, FL millionaire C.C. Dockery used $1.5 million of his own money to get the issue on the ballot. Gov. Jeb Bush rejected the plan last year because it was too expensive. Interestingly, exit polls show 60% of voters under 35 and 70% of Hispanic voters want the bullet train.

Pro-train supporters say the new transportation mode will reduce road congestion, boost tourism, attract the 2012 Summer Olympics to Orlando and open up thousands of undeveloped acres to new commercial development. Anti-train activists fear the money to build the train will be transferred from already-approved funds for major highway construction.

The 120-mph bullet train would link Orlando and Port Canaveral, FL on the state’s central east coast with the Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL area on the west coast. Walt Disney World is among the anti-train group.

The theme park, which attracts 30 million visitors annually, wants the train’s route to go directly from Orlando International Airport to its Lake Buena Vista, FL front door, bypassing a stop near arch rival Universal Orlando. Disney’s position puzzles industry watchers who point out the Port Canaveral train stop is made to order for a fast train whisking tourists from Disney resorts to Disney cruise ships at the port.

Just as puzzling to state representative Tom Feeney, the speaker designate of the Florida House, is the so-far non-funding solution for the construction of the high-speed rail system. Feeney, an Orlando lawyer, calls the bullet train concept “a miracle train because it will take a miracle to build it.”

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