TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Brightline’s plan to connect Tampa with Orlando via a “higher-speed rail” is one step closer to reality after the company secured a multi-million dollar grant thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. government.
Brightline and Central Florida’s Sunshine Corridor were awarded up to $15,875,000 in federal funds as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program.
The funds will allow Brightline to begin work on its proposed Tampa to Orlando intercity passenger rail project which would expand on its plan to bring passengers from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando stops.
Brightline previously said the trains could reach speeds as high as 125 miles per hour.
According to a news release from Brightline, the grant award, combined with up to $15,875,000 in contributing funds from Brightline, would result in a $31,750,000 total investment in the project.
Brightline said the 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 mostly double-tracked railway would likely be constructed within the right-of-way of the I-4 median and other existing transportation corridors.
“The Sunshine Corridor is a comprehensive, ambitious transportation solution for Central Florida,” Brightline Chief Executive Officer Michael Reininger said. “It represents the missing link in Brightline’s plan to connect Orlando and Tampa with modern, eco-friendly, intercity passenger rail.”
Central Florida is projected to see significant growth in population over the next decade, which will increase demands and congestion on current roadways like the I-4 corridor. Brightline says intercity passenger rail would serve as a vital tool to help Florida manage its future growth.