TAMPA, Fla — In an effort to take the stress out of traffic, the creators of the high-speed passenger rail system known as Brightline are in the process of making the ride between Tampa and Orlando a lot easier.
CEO Mike Reininger says once the rail connects to Tampa, the ride could take less than an hour. It’s a plan that’s been in the works for years.
“We need for this project to go to Tampa,” said Mike Cegelis, Brightline’s executive vice president for development and construction. “Connecting South Florida to Orlando is a big deal. But we’re not going to push this over the top and have a connected rail system in our state unless we connect to Tampa.”
Right now, crews are working to finish the rail connecting West Palm Beach to Orlando. The railway is already up and running in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
The route to Tampa will run along I-4 with a stop at Disney Springs and a terminal likely in Ybor city. Although, Brightline says that could change because a final terminal location hasn’t been set.
The CEO says his goal is to connect cities that are too close to fly, and too far, or often a hassle, to drive. We all know I-4 is a hassle.
For now, the expansion to Tampa is still in the planning phase. Brightline is in negotiations with the Florida Department of Transportation on the matter. They hope to have talks wrapped up by July.
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