Florida Authorities Give Brightline a Deadline of Mid-Summer to Negotiate Agreement With Local and State Agencies
On Monday, March 1, Florida transportation authorities gave Brightline a final deadline of mid-summer to negotiate an agreement with local and state agencies. Brightline is the company working on the expanding high-speed rail network between Orlando and Tampa.
In 2019, the state Department of Transportation gave Brightline the rights to negotiate securing leases along a route that is slated to include a station at Disney Springs by the end of 2023.
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.” Patrick Goddard, Brightline’s president and chief executive officer, signed the agreement late Monday.
Brightline is trying to secure an agreement for the preferred corridor which requires cooperation from the SunRail commuter system and with the Central Florida Expressway Authority for use of the space along it’s toll-road system.
“All parties agree that the corridor contemplated for the construction and operation of the intercity rail between Orlando and Tampa is unique and complex,” Thoburn said. “Therefore, we anticipate revisions to the proposed lease to address those complexities.”
“I am excited about Brightline’s progress to complete their route from Miami to the Orlando International Airport,” said the expressway authority’s executive director, Laura Kelley, in a statement. “Projects such as this give our community more mobility options as our region grows. CFX is looking forward to continuing conversations with Brightline on future expansions of express rail service as we strive to build a world-class transportation system here in Central Florida.”
Brightline is currently working on an extension to Orlando’s airport which is now under construction and almost halfway completed. The proposal for rail service between Orlando and Tampa will follow the completion of the airport extension.