Universal Orlando wants to create a special taxing district to pay for proposed Convention Center Sunrail station

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SunRail will eventually run to Universal Orlando - Photo courtesy SunRail/Facebook
Photo courtesy SunRail/Facebook
SunRail will eventually run to Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando is proposing the creation of a special taxing district — Shingle Creek Transit Utility Community Development District — to fund a proposed commuter train station at the Orange County Convention Center.

Seemingly undaunted by the possibly impending dissolution of sister theme park Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District, Universal and the Orlando Right Rail business coalition submitted a petition to the Orange County Commission last week for their own taxing/development district. This new entity will oversee the funding, construction and eventual operation of the station.

The planned light-rail station at the Convention Center will be a hub for a rail line connecting the Universal and International Drive area to MCO. While the rough timeline has this new corridor up and running by 2030, Universal City Development Partners Ltd. are ready to go full steam ahead now with the Shingle Creek Transit Utility Community Development District if (ed. note: LOL) the county approves, as reported by Orlando Business Journal.

Universal Orlando has set aside 13 acres of property near Epic Universe (opening in 2025) to be the site for this new OCCC train station, part of an eventual "Sunshine Corridor" light-rail line connecting the theme park to the Orange International Airport.

The station would be part of a shared corridor between rail companies SunRail and Brightline. This corridor will connect the Convention Center, Universal and MCO via these new rail routes. SunRail would add stops at MCO, the I-Drive area and the Convention Center, while Brightline would use this stop as part of their planned connection from Orlando to Tampa.

The taxing district, with Universal as the only property owner within, promises to initially raise $125 million in funding through private bonds, to defray the projected $1 billion price tag.

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