ORLANDO, Fla. - A few weeks ago, Brightline confirmed plans to have a stop at Disney Springs. However, people have been asking if it would stop here along International Drive too.
On Wednesday, the company’s President indicated that is very unlikely.
“We’re not the transportation planning agency for Central Florida.” Patrick Goddard, President, Brightline Trains. "We’re not going to be the answer to everybody’s problem.”
He's referring to connecting Universal Orlando and International Drive to the Orlando International Airport and Brightline system. He said at an event on Wednesday that a northern route would not make sense.
“The reality is the math,” Goddard added. “There is an alternative alignment but it’s about a billion dollars more, so we’ve got a funding gap and anything can be solved with money but I don’t know that anybody is stepping up with that money at this time.”
Goddard explains the high cost is because there is not much open land to build the track to International Drive, meaning the northern route would require expensive tunnels and bridges.
“We’re going to Tampa, we need to do that in the most efficient way. We’ll have a funding gap if we go north. It’s still expensive to go south. We want to work on a solution that optimizes the work that we’re doing and benefits as many people as possible but we should be looking at this as an ecosystem and not looking at us to solve transportation problems that I don’t know we can solve,” said Goddard.
“I don’t think we’re gonna be able -- as a region -- to rely on any one company or any one mode of transportation to solve the transportation challenges and opportunities that we have,” said Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership.
The International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce told FOX 35 in-part:
“The International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes the 417 proposed Brightline route that would entirely bypass the International Drive resort area, Orange County’s most crucial corridor. We strongly believe that any future transportation system that does not include service from the Orlando International Airport to the International Drive resort area within its plan, will be setting the stage for devastating consequences in future growth, development and success of our entire community.”
“Within a mobility ecosystem, everybody has a role to play and we can’t be the answer for everybody. If we’re not the answer, who is the answer? What is the appropriate modality to serve that attraction or that location,” said Goddard.
A past plan was to build a light rail system from the Orlando International Airport to International Drive but it would have been mostly taxpayer-funded and the support was not there.
Brightline has not finalized plans for its Tampa route and discussions are ongoing.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.