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MetroPlan Orlando approves mag-lev train plan

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Move over monorail, there may soon be a new train in town.

MetroPlan Orlando voted Wednesday to build the first 15 miles of an $800 million magnetic levitation, or mag-lev, train.

Tony Morris, CEO of American-Maglev, said how the region feels about the project has been the question for a year.

"I think the region has spoken; spoken unanimously in one voice and so I'm very happy," Morris said.

The 15-mile first phase of the system would run along existing roads, meaning far fewer hassles with construction and right of way.

If the first phase flies, the system could eventually run 40 miles between Orlando International Airport, the convention center, downtown and I-Drive.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said conceptually, mag-lev is a great idea.

"It's a public private partnership with a large private investment, so theoretically not as risky to the public and not public funding, so conceptually, it's a great idea," Dyer said.

A person arriving in Orlando for a convention could skip a cab, pay $13, get on the train and arrive at the convention center in 20 minutes.

Project backers said central Florida is a great place to start because growth is twice the national average and people have booked conventions out for a decade. They hope to break ground by next summer.

The company behind the project expects to hire up to 600 construction workers, and create 60 permanent jobs.

Once construction begins, the project would begin operating in about two years.