Brightline train route connecting South Florida to Orlando receives final government approval

MIAMI (WSVN) - A proposed express train between South Florida and Orlando is now a little bit closer to becoming a reality.

Brightline announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted final approval to begin construction on Phase II, the West Palm Beach to Orlando portion of the route.

“This is the most critical and final step in the extension of Brightline’s service to Orlando, and we are excited to move forward with Phase II,” said Dave Howard, Brightline’s CEO.

The company is currently testing the Brightline trains on their Phase I route, with stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. While it has not yet announced a launch date for service in the tri-county area, Brightline says it expects to become fully operational in early 2018.

But it’s the link from South Florida to Orlando that has many residents looking forward to the completion of Phase II.

“Construction of the system will create thousands of jobs and provide a much-needed link between Florida’s two most visited and populated regions,” Howard said.

Brightline said over the next several months, they will finalize the design for the rail infrastructure and the vehicle maintenance facility that will be located on Orlando International Airport property. The company says construction on the route to Orlando will start in the first quarter of 2018.

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