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Florida DOT to provide millions for freight-rail infrastructure, commuter-rail line

Because highway congestion continues to mount, Florida officials have developed a plan to improve freight-rail infrastructure and expand commuter-rail service throughout the Sunshine State. As part of a tentative agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and CSX Transportation announced earlier this week, the state will provide $491 million to improve rail infrastructure and expand capacity on two CSXT lines, one of which would be used for commuter-rail service.

FDOT will fund $198 million to upgrade a line between Baldwin and Plant City; $59 million to build five overpasses; $52 million to upgrade other CSXT lines throughout the state; and $9 million to build access roads in Winter Haven to the Integrated Logistics Center, a large rail yard being built by CSXT.

The department also will purchase 61 track miles between DeLand and Poinciana from CSXT for $150 million. FDOT plans to launch commuter-rail service on the line during peak morning and evening periods, as well as during some off-peak hours. Scheduled to open in 2009, the initial segment would run from DeBary to the Orlando Amtrak station.

In addition, CSXT would transfer operational control of an 81-mile rail corridor, used by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority to operate Tri-Rail commuter-rail service, to the state.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/4/2006