Florida Officials Press Brightline For Timeline On High Speed Rail
On Monday, Florida transpiration authorities gave Brightline, the company working on the rail network between Orlando and Tampa until mid-summer to sort out agreements with local and state agencies. As a recent piece in the Orlando Sentinel states , the Florida State Department of Transportation gave Brightline the rights to negotiate to secure leases along the route which will supposedly include a stop at Disney Springs.
In a statement , Brad Thoburn, assistant secretary of the transportation department said in a letter to Brightline, “The Department is amenable to one final extension of the negotiations.” According to the piece in the Sentinel, the agreement was signed by Patrick Goddard, Brightline’s Chief Executive Officer and CEO.
There are a lot of logistics going into the route from Orlando and Tampa. The company’s preferred corridor requires cooperation from the SunRail commuter system and an agreement with the Central Florida Expressway Authority for use of space along it’s toll-road system. Permission also needs to be given by Orlando International Airport as well as the Orlando Utilities commission so that Brightline can use the coal-train rail spur that is located near the airport.
For those following along with MickeyBlog, you’ll know that the proposed service will run between Orlando and Tampa and the work will follow an extension to Orlando International Airport (MCO) which is currently under construction and aims will connect to an existing service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
In addition, according to the piece in the Sentinel, the Department of Transportation added to a list of terms that must be fulfilled before the lease of the state highway can be finalized. This includes the requirement that Brightline must conduct a study on train ridership as well as the amount of toll revenue expected to be lost in the state once the new rail service is in service.
Because, as the Sentinel points out, Brightline is a privately owned company they must come up with a way to compensate the local authority for any toll revenues that are lost. In addition, because the route will also cross the SunRail tracks, SunRail’s commission of elected leaders must approve the plans.
SunRail did most recently agree to participate in a study to explore the possibility of cooperating with Brightline on a corridor between the airport and SunRail’s tracks. This is beneficial as SunRail does not currently have a link to the airport. In addition, the Aviation Authority must reconfirm its commitment to a rail that will go from the airport to Tampa.
This is a story that we’ll continue to follow closely here at MickeyBlog. Readers are encouraged to keep following along with us for further news and updates.
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Source: Orlando Sentinel