The developers of the high-speed rail system that will travel from Miami to Orlando have unveiled what the trains will look like and what they will be called. The system will be known as Brightline, aka All Aboard Florida, and have a somewhat bullet train look.
The trains, which initially will be made up of four cars that can carry 240 passengers, will be brightly colored and are being built by Siemens USA in California.
All Aboard Florida has yet to float the $1.75 billion in bonds it received authorization for on Aug. 5 from a state board. The bonds will carry low interest, be tax-exempt and go a long way toward fueling construction of the rail line.
Orange County will serve as a primary hub for Brightline, which is expected to cost a total of $3 billion and create a passenger rail system running 235 miles between Orlando International Airport and Miami. The project is billed as the first privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail system in the US. Its backers say it will inject more than $6.4 billion into Florida's economy, including $562.4 million in the Orlando region during construction.
Ground was broken in Miami this year and the project is expected to begin here in early 2017, with the station to be part of the Orlando airport's new South Terminal. Stops are also planned in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with completion of the entire project pegged for 2017. Florida East Coast Industries is the primary developer.
All Aboard Florida has been challenged by Indian River County, which is south of Orlando and north of Palm Beach, which filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Transportation for its approval of the $1.75 billion of tax exempt bonds for the project. The suit calls the bond authorization "plainly unlawful," citing the lack of a final determination of what kind of environmental and historical impacts the project could have.
Proponents say the rail system's goal is to provide an economic boost through ease of use that will attract more businesses, visitors and investors to the area as the railway serves as an alternative to congested roads and crowded airport terminals.
LOCATION: Orlando to Miami
DEVELOPER: Florida East Coast Industries, which is owned by asset manager Fortress Investment Group LLC
START DATE: 2015
END DATE: 2017
PROJECT BUDGET: $3 billion
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Turner Kiewit Joint Venture is contractor for Orlando International Airport's Intermodal hub, which will serve as the area station for All Aboard Florida