Proposed high-speed rail projects in Florida, Texas move forward

High-speed passenger rail projects proposed for Florida and Texas advanced on Friday as the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) completed the Florida project’s environmental review process and signed a draft environmental impact statement review for the Texas project.

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The All Aboard Florida (AAF)/Brightline project would provide private passenger rail service from Orlando to Miami with stops in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The Texas Central Railway (TCR) project would provide private passenger rail in a fully sealed corridor between Dallas and Houston.

“Safe, accessible and efficient regional rail systems are an important component in the transportation networks of many areas,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. “As proposed, these rail projects would increase travel options and promote economic growth in their regions of the country.”

Private developer Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) has proposed a 40-mile dedicate rail corridor running parallel to Florida State Road 528 and connecting to the existing Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway. USDOT’s Federal Railway Administration (FRA) signed a record of decision for the project on Friday, signaling the end of environmental review processes.

The draft environmental impact statement review for the TCR high-speed rail project, meanwhile, outlines the project’s purpose and need, and it pinpoints potential alternatives and the environmental impacts of those alternatives. FRA’s signing of the document signals the opening of a public comment period.