A $375 million rail transit system linking Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and the International Drive tourist area would be a first in a number of ways: It would be the first transit system built in the United States since the 1920s with substantial private investment. It would be the only automated, driverless public transit system in the country and one of only a few in the world. It would be the first public transit system since before WWII developed and operated entirely by a private company; a consortium is headed by Matra, a French high-tech conglomerate. It would be the only public transit system to depend mostly on tourists for riders. Landowners around the 11.9-mile route would be required to pay special taxes, and the value of their land would rise. Lou Treadway, Commissioner in Orange County, is an enthusiastic backer of the project; he thinks it may remedy shrinking federal aid, disappointing ridership, huge cost overruns, and high operating subsidies. Sweeping changes in land-use plans encouraging high-density development and discouraging automobile use are sought for the project. Current opinion on the project is largely favorable, though corporate executives rejected tax changes needed to fund the system a year ago. Devloping a system with both private and public money through Matra, may make the plan work. Matra is creating a financial plan for the system; it would build the system, then lease and operate it. Passenger fares and an annual service fee of about $10 million from Orange County are expected to fund the system. Supporters believe the system will become a tourist attraction; that's one reason they chose the high-tech VAL (Vehicules Automatique Leger) rather than conventional technology. Most developers and planners think the plan has possible application in dealing with the region's explosive growth. Approval of the $10 million service fee, Disney World's support, and agreement with land-use changes are all requisite to the plan's success.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Sentinel Communications Company

    633 North Orange Avenue
    Orlando, FL  United States  32801
  • Authors:
    • Heaney, J
  • Publication Date: 1985-6-16

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00451452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1985 12:00AM