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Looks like we’ll stick to scenic route

I’m big on taking the scenic route, especially when the destination is Orlando.

Maybe State Road 64 east to U.S. 27 and turn north.

Or State Road 62 east to U.S. 37 then north. Or east to U.S. 17, then north and over to U.S. 27.

It’s involved, but I avoid Interstate 4 as much as I can.

Even if my future bride is riding shotgun.

“I’d like to get there sometime today,” is Sherri Manring’s refrain.

Sounds like a candidate for the bullet train.

Too bad we may not live long enough to see it in Manatee County.

Me anyway.

That was apparent in all the excitement over the $1.25 billion in stimulus money announced by President Barack Obama on Thursday for a high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

People could be riding it by 2014.

Good for Tampa.

As for us folks?

No high-speed rail until 2035, according to area transportation officials.

Or maybe 2050.

I’d be 100 by then.

Now, I like the idea of taking a high-speed train to Gainesville for a Gator game.

Or Tallahassee or Pensacola for a long weekend.

Miami? Been there, done that.

I’m just skeptical about the financing.

The grant is being called a down payment, but where will the rest of the funding come from — even if Obama plans another $5 billion for high-speed rail in future federal budgets.

The proposed Orlando-to-Miami stretch alone is a projected $8 billion.

Given the Florida Legislature’s present kvetching about Gov. Charlie Crist’s ambitious budget plans for education, I can imagine their recoiling over being tasked to find more billions for a high-speed rail.

Good luck with that.

Another question is, who will use this thing enough to make it solvent?

Besides people going to Orlando and Disney World!

I know one person who could’ve used the high-speed rail years ago.

When Jim and Jane Simpson’s three daughters attended college in Orlando in succession and started working there, Mom made that trip so frequently over a seven-year span she should’ve had her SUV on auto pilot.

She didn’t take the scenic route, either.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee Count. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or e-mail him at Please include a phone number for verification purposes.