Brightline, a privately run passenger-rail service operating in South Florida, confirmed it is pursuing an Orlando-to-Tampa route that Gov. Rick Scott outlined Friday.
Brightline President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Goddard called the Tampa Bay market a “natural extension” for the service, which now runs between Miami and West Palm Beach and is expected to reach Orlando in 2021.
“Our state's residents, visitors and economy will benefit tremendously from a fully connected passenger rail system that includes our current operations in South Florida and our future line to Orlando,” Goddard said in a prepared statement. “We are currently engaged in the (request for proposal) process, which is the first step needed to extend the system to the Tampa Bay region.”
On Friday, Scott announced that the state Department of Transportation had received an “unsolicited proposal” to lease property owned by the state and the Central Florida Expressway Authority to build a high-speed passenger train service along Interstate 4.
“Based on the unsolicited proposal, FDOT, on behalf of the State and CFX (Central Florida Expressway Authority), is initiating an open, transparent procurement process so any interested private entities may apply,” a release from the governor’s office said. “The request is for those interested in leasing FDOT and CFX owned rights-of-way to establish privately funded passenger rail service between Orlando and Tampa.”
On June 7, in announcing a new executive team, Brightline said the company “is also analyzing the viability of replicating the model in city pairs that are ‘too long to drive and too short to fly’ in other regions throughout the country.”