Florida has released a draft version of the Florida State Rail Plan. Within the plan there are a lot of exciting projects that if completed, will give Florida one of the premier passenger rail networks in the country. Attached are a series of maps that give a brief overview of the state's rail plan. We will be rolling out additional information over the next few weeks.
Map one shows the property of intercity rail development within the state. In the rail plan it states that Amtrak and Brightline are in the process of filling these routes with service. In the case of Amtrak, the operator wants to add short distance routes between the major population centers with up to three daily round trips, depending on the routes. In real terms, this could mean that with Brightline and Amtrak, there could be as many as 15+ trains per day between Orlando and Miami. Another notable point is the future extensions connecting Naples and Gainesville to the network. As of now neither operator is planning on sending trains to those locations, but it is nice that they are on the radar for track and other improvements. Hopefully there will be a new rail service in the not so distant future.
Map two shows the development of commuter rail systems within the state. Miami and Orlando have new line, station upgrades and vehicle acquisitions in the works, which will be rolled out over the next decade. In Tampa and Jacksonville, there are plans to create new commuter rail networks. The Jacksonville network will have one northern branch and two southern branches, with one extending down to St.Augustine. Initial work has begun on the St. Augustine branch where station locations have been identified and conversation have begun with the FEC about track expansion and cost. Tampa is very early in the process and has begun to identify corridors that would accommodate a commuter rail system.
Map three shows LRT, metro and street car expansion throughout the state. A big highlight is a new LRT line in Broward County. This line will do wonders on connecting the Tri rail, Amtrak and Brightline networks within Fort Lauderdale. Another highlight is the large expansion of the Tampa streetcar system and the Miami metro. A notable thing that was missing is any discussion of the Jacksonville Skyway. There are plans to convert the Skyway to an elevated road network for autonomous vehicles, which were not mentioned in the Rail plan.
Overall the 2022 rail plan gives the people of Florida and the Southeast a lot to be excited about.