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Transportation

Brightline says a plan for high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando is in the works

Brightline's West Palm Beach station
Brightline
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Brightline's West Palm Beach station

Brightline is working with Tampa officials to determine where a terminal should be located, along with the best route. It would likely come through Ybor City, close to I-4.

A high-speed rail line is being planned to run in the Interstate 4 corridor from Orlando to Tampa. An extension from South Florida to Orlando is about three-quarters completed and should be finished by 2023.

Officials with Brightline gave an update Wednesday during a meeting of the Hillsborough Transportation Planning organization.

Brightline route map
Brightline
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Brightline route map

Brightline spokeswoman Christine Kefauver told members of the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization they are currently working with Tampa officials to determine where a terminal should be located, along with the best route. It would likely come through Ybor City, close to I-4.

"The last thing we want to do is disrupt communities. And no additional tall operational ramps and so forth for Brightline," she said. "So the closer we can stay to impacted corridors, we feel the better it is for the communities at hand."

She said an extension of the tracks from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport is about three-quarters complete, and should be finished next year. A stop could also be planned for Polk County.

Harry Cohen, a board member and Hillsborough County commissioner, praised the planned station at Orlando International Airport. He said that terminal's connections to other transit lines is something Tampa should also contemplate.

"The more that we can centralize people's ability to choose from different modes of transportation, I think not only the more successful Brightline will be," he said, "but the further we're going to get to actually having a real functioning transportation network that can get people out to all areas of the region."

The train would travel up to 120 miles an hour in rural areas, but much slower in cities.

Map of the Orlando-to-Tampa extension
Brightline
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Map of the Orlando-to-Tampa extension

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