ORLANDO, Fla. – Plans to open a Brightline station at Disney Springs have been canceled.
The change was first reported by the Orlando Business Journal.
Brightline already has stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and a stop at Orlando International Airport is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, according to a press release. The high-speed rail service was planning to add a link between Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs, but it’s expected to go to tourist-heavy International Drive instead. An extension to Tampa is the next step in connecting 70 percent of the state’s population by Brightline.
Earlier this month, Brightline received a grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program. The funding will go toward Central Florida’s Sunshine Corridor and Brightline’s proposed Tampa to Orlando intercity passenger rail project.
The grant award, combined with up to $15,875,000 in contributing funds from Brightline, will result in a $31,750,000 total investment. The grant application received substantial community and bipartisan support.
An additional station at the Orange County Convention Center will be included in the new Brightline plan, according to a statement from Brightline sent to Local 10 News on Tuesday.
“In addition to the airport, one new station will be located at the Orange County Convention Center and an alternative station will be placed near the original Disney Springs site, albeit not on land owned by Disney. Taken together, the three integrated stations provide access to the largest economic and employment centers in Central Florida and offer the best opportunity for the success of Brightline and SunRail.”
“Late last year, we were asked by several community leaders to explore alternative alignments for our planned expansion from OIA to Tampa. The original plan called for a single station at Disney Springs. Along with a broad range of stakeholders, we have identified a solution now known as the Sunshine Corridor which contemplates two new stations and integrates Brightline’s intercity service with SunRail, through an east-west expansion.”
“This concept was recently awarded a federal grant to assist in its advancement and as an indication of its potential to drive regional impact. We look forward to working with all key stakeholders on expanding smart mobility that connects Orlando to the rest of Florida.” said Ben Porritt, SVP of Corporate Affairs.