Construction May Soon Begin On Passenger Rail Service From Orlando to Tampa

If you’ve been thinking of moving to the sunny state of Florida, there’s good news. An 88-mile passenger rail service will require 3 years of construction work and provide at least 16,500 temporary jobs and about 1,600 permanent jobs.

The proposed rail service project will require 44-foot-wide spaces mostly along Interstate 4 in Central Florida. The rail project is being handled by Brightline, an express rail system and the only privately owned rail system in the state.

Governor of Florida On Board

In its application to the Florida DOT, Brightline President Patrick Goddard stated that, “The private investment we have made has created thousands of jobs and generated substantial economic impact. By connecting Florida’s major economic centers, Brightline provides a safe, efficient and productive way for residents and tourists to travel the state.”

Goddard also stated that the rail project would work toward “strengthening Florida’s infrastructure” and that it would be the, “next step in our efforts to expand intercity passenger rail in Florida.”

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Brightline is planning to build stations along Interstate 4 and State Road 417, areas that are widely used by locals and tourists visiting the Disneyworld area. This particular region of the state has been popular since Disneyworld was first built in 1971. The theme park reports over 52,000 visitors per day so including a rail stop at the park will make it much easier for people to travel there. This should cut down quite a bit on the traffic and parking issues in the area.

Brightline states in its application that they will also build a station in Lakeland, Florida that connects with SunRail’s MeadowWoods Station and a station near Orlando International Airport. The state of Florida has always been a hugely popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches and year-round warm weather, so travel can be a nightmare.

In a press release, Governor Rick Scott stated that despite the destruction of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the state still set a record for the number of tourists that year.  An estimated 116.5 million people visited the state and they expect this to increase in years to come.

What’s the Next Step in the Rail Service Project?

Now that the Florida DOT has given rail company Brightline permission to move forward, the next step is to negotiate land leases for right-of-way along the proposed route. Some of the land may be privately owned but a good deal of it is owned by the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and FDOT.

At the moment, Brightline is proposing a route through Central Florida that begins at Orlando International Airport and follows the Interstate 4 corridor into downtown Tampa.

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Brightline estimates that the rail service construction alone will provide an incredible economic impact of around $2.4 billion for the state of Florida. Once the project is completed, it will also spawn the growth of other tourist attractions eventually improving the state’s economy considerably. Investors believe these projects could generate over a billion dollars in economic growth, not to mention adding thousands of new jobs.

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