State reaches agreement for high speed rail

All Aboard Florida reached an agreement last month with The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to build a privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service linking Orlando to Miami.  

Under the agreement, All Aboard Florida would lease portions of the Beachline Expressway (State Road 528) right-of-way to build a high speed train.  The lease agreement is for 50 years, with an option to renew for another 49 years.   

All Aboard Florida will pay FDOT $275,000 per year, adjusting annually for inflation - the appraised, fair market value of the lease.  There are stops planned for West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale along the roughly 250 mile route which will connect Orlando International Airport with a new train station in Miami. 

More than 50 million people travel between Orlando and South Florida annually for both business and pleasure.  Disney World and Orlando is the world's most popular resort destination as well.

Approximately 200 of the 230 miles of Right of Way (ROW) needed are in place and the corridor has been used for rail operations for more than a century. This gives the passenger rail service a jump start to begin operating in the shortest timeframe possible.  All Aboard Florida is focused on choosing its rolling stock, identifying exact station locations and other significant decisions that will affect the overall timeline.

The new train will become the nation's first privately financed, operated and maintained passenger rail system owned by Florida East Coast Industries, of Coral Gables.  
Background Information
All Aboard Florida is a proposed higher-speed rail service which would operate along the Florida East Coast Railway. The proposed service would connect Miami with Orlando via a roughly 240-mile (390 km) route along the Atlantic coast north from Miami to Cocoa, where it would turn west towards Orlando.  Startup costs are estimated at $1 billion, including a new 40-mile (64 km) track segment from Cocoa to Orlando. Unlike all other inter-city rail (Amtrak) in the United States the new service would be privately owned and operated by Florida East Coast Railway (FEC).   The company did, however, apply for a Federal Railroad Administration loan of an undisclosed amount in March 2013 to at least partially pay for start-up costs.

Feasibility studies into beginning the service began in late 2011, and by the time of the public announcement had progressed into detailed ridership and engineering studies.[  Service was originally planned to begin in 2014, but in March 2013 an FEC executive said that the start date had been pushed back to late 2015.  Even if the new trackage into Orlando is not completed by the time service begins, connections at Cocoa would be offered.

The new train will be a privately financed, operated and maintained passenger rail system
The State will be paid $275,000 per year for 99 years to lease the expressway right of way