Brightline Receives Federal Grant for Rail Line Connecting Disney Springs, Orlando International Airport, and Tampa
A new milestone has been reached in the Brightline rail corridor construction saga, which will connect Orlando and Tampa by high speed rail, including a stop at Disney Springs. Today, several House Representatives for the State of Florida announced a $15.8 million grant from the Federal Government to Brightline, which the rail company says will be used for preliminary engineering activities and environmental approvals.
The federal funding will come from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program. The funding will go toward Central Florida’s Sunshine Corridor and Brightline’s proposed Tampa to Orlando intercity passenger rail project. The grant award, combined with up to $15,875,000 in contributing funds from Brightline, will result in a $31,750,000 total investment. The grant application received substantial community and bipartisan support.
The grant award will support the preliminary engineering activities and environmental approvals required to construct an intercity passenger rail system between Orlando International Airport and Tampa. The activities will include completing 15 percent and 30 percent engineering design for a completely grade-separated, mostly double-tracked railway built within the right-of-way of the I-4 median and other existing transportation corridors.
Brightline is currently operating between Miami and West Palm Beach, with an Orlando extension scheduled to be complete by later this year and operating by 2023. The further extension to the Orange County Convention Center, Disney Springs, and Tampa has not yet announced a window for opening.
“Thrilled to see that Brightline’s proposed Tampa to Orlando intercity passenger rail project will receive funding thanks to the Department of Transportation’s CRISI grant. As a result of this administration’s efforts to improve our nation’s infrastructure, Central Floridians will be one step closer to easily accessing Orlando International Airport, our beautiful theme parks, and Tampa,” said Congressman Darren Soto. “I was proud to be a part of this bipartisan request with Reps. Demings, Murphy, Bilirakis, and Webster to keep Central Florida moving and look forward to the future of transportation in our state.”
Are you excited for the idea of taking the train from Orlando International Airport to Disney Springs? Let us know in the comments below!