The plan to build a half-billion-dollar mass-transportation system here may serve as the blueprint for other cities to satisfy their own transportation needs, according to local and federal officials involved in the novel Florida project.
''I see this as a potential model,'' says Arthur Teele, head of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration.
In describing the federal viewpoint about large, expensive undertakings such as mass-transit networks, Mr. Teele said, ''We are not saying that local government should do it. That would be contrary to New Federalism. We feel that local government should try and do it with private support. And that is why this project is so important.''
The $420,000 federal grant, which gave the pilot transportation project the green light, was the first such grant to be issued under the Reagan administration.
Citing a critical need for a mass-transportation system, Orlando Mayor Willard D. Frederick Jr. said that ''we have to realize the federal government is not going to be starting any more major rail projects. But we saw a difference here in that basically we were trying to demonstrate the feasibility of private capital doing it.
''We thought there was a window and there was, but it was tight.''
Mayor Frederick says he is hopeful of showcasing this venture so other cities could use it as a model.