Brightline, Florida’s intercity higher-speed rail system, received approval from the state Nov. 28 to negotiate for land to add high-speed passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa.
Officials envision the link as a connecting point for Brightline’s existing service in South Florida, according to the US High Speed Rail Association.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) procurement office approved an application from the agency, which officials said will give Brightline 90 days to establish terms with the Central Florida Expressway Authority to build the train service along Interstate 4.
Brightline President Patrick Goddard said the company is looking forward to working with the expressway authority in “strengthening Florida’s infrastructure.” Goddard also called the proposal the company’s “next step in our efforts to expand intercity passenger rail in Florida.”
“This is really exciting news for high speed rail in America,” said Andy Kunz, USHSR president. “Congratulations to Brightline, the State of Florida, and also Virgin who has joined the project!”
Officials said the link will aid local community members, who have dealt with increased traffic congestion in recent years.
“The private investment we have made has created thousands of jobs and generated substantial economic impact,” Goddard said in a statement. “By connecting Florida’s major economic centers, Brightline provides a safe, efficient and productive way for residents and tourists to travel the state.”
The project is expected to bring about 16,500 temporary jobs during the three years of construction work, as well as about 1,600 permanent jobs. Station locations would be expected in Orlando, Tampa and the Celebration/Disney and Lakeland areas.