Amtrak to Fla.: We'd like to help, but we can't

Boardman said he would have liked to save the project, but the window to get together an application before April 4 was too short.

“Like you, we share your desire for the development of high-speed rail in Florida and were dismayed when the state decided to relinquish their federal funding for this project,” Boardman wrote to the Florida lawmakers.

“As you may know, Amtrak was excluded from the planning process for the original Tampa-Orlando line,” Boardman wrote, adding that “the opportunity for funding in this cycle has passed.”

Boardman encouraged Florida to continue trying to build the Tampa-Orlando railway, even if it would no longer have the assistance of $2.4 billion in federal funding.

“Despite the recent setbacks, every effort should be made to continue to advance a comprehensive plan for rail,” Boardman wrote. “Logistically, demographically and from a population density and distribution standpoint, Florida is one of the top four rail markets in the country.”

Nelson said he spoke with Boardman this morning, but the Amtrak decision means the Florida rail plan has come to a screeching halt.

“In essence, that means a bullet train linking Orlando, Tampa and Miami is, for now, gone,” his office said in a statement. “And so are the 24,000 jobs it promised to bring to the state.”