Published: Aug 19, 2011 7:34 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 19, 2011 11:06 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Local elected officials have approved a $262,000 study of the rail system in Lee County. Half of that money comes from local tax dollars that fund the Metropolitan Planning Organization, half from the state.

"We need to find ways to get people off the roads, out of their cars, and into mass transportation," said Chris Chulakes-Leetz, a council member from Cape Coral, who voted for the study.   

The study will  have two goals:  to look at the options for commuter rail here, and possibly how to pay for it; and secondly, to look at the freight system and how it might be expanded into the northern parts of Cape Coral.

"We are a global economy, and we need to know if we can play a role in moving freight through here more efficiently," said Lee Commissioner Tammy Hall.

Fort Myers homeowner Patricia Baggett does not support the study. 

"They ought to be looking at ways to help the people who do not have jobs," she told WINK.   "I have seen passenger rail in Europe, it works there, but they started many years ago, way before us. I know the commuter rail in Miami does not work well, it loses a lot of money. I just don't think we can afford it right now. I don't believe it's going to help Ft. Myers."

The study is supposed to be done by next spring.