Brightline Gets OK to Build to Orlando

Brightline has received further regulatory approvals to expand its intercity rail service in Florida.

The Orange County Commissioners approved an environmental permit that will allow Brightline to begin constructing a 125-mph corridor adjacent to the Beachline Expressway east of Orlando International Airport.

This 22-mile route will connect with the Florida East Coast mainline at Cocoa, Florida, located about 130 miles north of Brightline’s current northern terminus of West Palm Beach.

Brightline Executive Vice President Mike Cegelis described building next to a highway as “the path of least resistance.”

He said construction is expected to get underway later this year with revenue service launching in 2021.

The passenger carrier is eyeing using the median of Interstate 4 to link Orlando and Tampa.

That idea involves leasing the median of I-4 and either Florida routes 528 or 417.

I-4 has a broad median that could easily accommodate a rail line.

No timeline has been given for the Tampa extension. Brightline has said it is focused for now on completing its route to Orlando.

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