There’s been ANOTHER update on the airport train set to come to Orlando!
For months we’ve been watching for updates on the Brightline train set to connect South Florida to Orlando and beyond. It went from a confirmed station in Disney Springs to the end of that plan and only the possibility of a station “near” Disney. The train’s path has gradually evolved and we’ve gotten a peek at some of the things complicating its future. But now we have more news.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Central Florida just got a critical extension of time related to the Brightline train. It all has to do with grant applications that can help fund the project.
The Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) opened up a window for groups to apply for grant requests. That window began in December and was only going to last through March 7th. But the FRA has published a notice to push that deadline back to April 21st.
Previously, John Tyler, “the state transportation department’s secretary for Central Florida,” shared that the March 7th deadline would be difficult to meet. This extension gives the Florida Department of Transportation more time to coordinate everything needed to seek a grant that’ll help fund the Brightline train’s path through Orlando.
Why is the money so important? Well, it would be used to “help with engineering and design work for shared tracks from the airport to the theme park district, and then for Brightline tracks to Tampa.” This is just the preliminary step though. A request for more funds to help with construction costs would be made later.
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto shared, “We welcome the news of the grant application deadline extension by the Federal Railroad Administration and hope it serves as a catalyst for a positive conclusion to negotiations between FDOT and Brightline.”
The current plan for the Brightline train’s path through Orlando is called the “Sunshine Corridor.” It would have the train go from the Orlando airport through part of the tourism area (with a stop at the Orange County Convention Center and a path along I-Drive), and eventually on to Tampa.
Key to this plan is that Brightline would share some of the path with the existing SunRail train line in Orlando and expand the SunRail path.
A station “near” Disney has been discussed, but details have not been shared.
But much of the Sunshine Corridor plan is still up in the air. The Sentinel points out that local governments have made “few commitments other than to study the Sunshine Corridor.”
With various “cooks in the kitchen,” private and public entities involved, and concerns around funding, the plan remains flexible. In the meantime, Brightline has pushed forward on connecting its South Florida stations to Orlando. The Orlando Airport station is set to open in 2023.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Click here to see a VIDEO of the Brightline Orlando Airport station
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Would you be willing to take the Brightline train around Orlando? Tell us in the comments.
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