Orlando to Tampa rail connection receives crucial early funding

The plan to connect Orlando to Tampa is en route.

Yesterday the House of Representatives for the State of Florida issued a grant of $15.8 million for Central Florida's Brightline.

The money is going toward creating a new line called the Sunshine Corridor that will run from the Orlando International Airport, International Drive and part of the theme parks to Tampa. This funding, which will pay for cost studies, came from the U.S. Department of Transportation Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program.

Brightline's chief executive, Michael Reininger says, "the Sunshine Corridor is a comprehensive, ambitious transportation solution for Central Florida."

Earlier in 2020, Brightline and a Tampa developer Daryll Shaw came to an understanding which lets the company do an environmental analysis on Ybor City for a possible station.

In late 2020, Disney and Brightline made an agreement that the train would have a stop at Disney Springs. This line would create a connection from Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Boca Raton and Port of Miami to Disney.

 This connection is Brightline's first order of business, according to Michael Cegilis, Brightline's executive Vice President of rail infrastructure.

Since the Sunshine Corridor runs through International Drive and the theme parks costs will be split by these companies. International Drive and Universal will pay $125 million for track and station costs, 13 acres to build the station, $13 million for ticket sales and $2 million for maintenance.

This line would be owned and operated by an entity made by the government that supports the SunRail. The line is set to be up and running by 2025.

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