Thursday, October 03, 2013

FEC, Orlando Airport reach HrSR accord

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Florida East Coast Industries and Orlando International Airport have reached agreement on higher-speed rail access to and from the airport, a key station in the planned All Aboard Florida higher- speed rail proposal envisioned to link Orlando with West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

The deal, reached Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, could allow construction of the proposed $1.5 billion, 230-mile HrSR route to begin late this year, though a start in early 2014 is considered by some to be more likely.

The agreement secures both a station and right-of-way on airport property, the latter paralleling the BeachLine Expressway. Most of the proposed route will utilize existing right-of-way owned and operated by Florida East Coast Railway.

Orlando Airport officials will seek $200 million in state funding to pay for the airport rail station, to be located one mile from the main airport terminal. The station would be designed to add SunRail regional rail service, now also being advanced in the Orlando metropolitan area.

In turn, All Aboard Florida would pay the airport $2.8 million annually for rent, plus up to $1.50 per train passenger who leaves from Orlando. FEC also would spend $50 million to build an 80-acre maintenance facility near the airport and pay a lease fee.