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Florida transportation authorities recently gave Brightline a final deadline of mid-summer to iron out agreements with local and state governments for the extension of passenger-rail service from Orlando’s airport to Tampa, the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday.
In late 2019, the Florida Department of Transportation first awarded the company rights to negotiate for securing leases along a route that is slated to include a station at Disney Springs in Orlando.
“The department is amenable to one final extension of the negotiations,” said Brad Thoburn, an assistant secretary of the transportation department, in a March 1 letter to Brightline that outlines terms for an extension of negotiations.
The corridor preferred by Brightline has posed some issues, including the need for cooperation with Central Florida’s SunRail commuter system and an agreement with the Central Florida Expressway Authority for use of space along its toll-road system. The company also needs affirmation from the authority governing Orlando International Airport and approval from Orlando Utilities Commission for use of coal-train rail spur near the airport.