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All Aboard Florida (AAF) officials have made "significant progress" in recent months toward their proposed, privately-owned and operated passenger-rail service that would run between south and central Florida, railroad officials said in an email issued last week.AAF officials are putting the finishing touches on a lease agreement with Orlando International Airport for a future terminal, as well as modifying an initial lease agreement with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, the email states. In July, the Florida East Coast Industries-owned railroad finalized an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation to lease a portion of right of way along State Road 528 corridor.And on Sept. 13, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Florida to award the South Florida Freight and Passenger Rail Enhancement project a $13.75 million federal grant that will be used to upgrade passenger rail travel by linking the two major rail corridors, the South Florida Rail Corridor and the Florida East Coast Railway.Meanwhile, station planning and design for AAF is under way, including a plan to develop an additional two acres in Historic Overtown. The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency's board has approved AAF's plan to develop one block west of the railroad's current property, which is slated to become part of its transit hub and the future location of All Aboard Florida headquarters. That plan now moves to the Miami-Dade County Commission for consideration."We are on track to share several exciting milestones by the end of 2013, including our rolling stock manufacturer and new members of our senior management team," the email states.In December, the AAF team will host another round of public meetings as part of the environmental review process, as well."We also plan to announce the Fort Lauderdale station site soon and break ground on the rail infrastructure by the end of this year," the email concludes.
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