Up To Speed: Brightline High-Speed Rail Still Making Plans For Tampa Connection

The passenger rail is making progress in efforts to connect its service to the Tampa Bay area. Plans include extending rail lines through Polk County.

TAMPA, Fla — Plans to connect Tampa to Orlando with a high-speed passenger rail are still underway. Relieving traffic along Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando has been in the works for years. With more than 150,000 who make the commute every day, many say it’s long overdue.

That’s why leaders with the passenger rail Brightline have been working on making the drive between the two cities faster with their high-speed train.

Where to set up shop in Tampa Bay is still undetermined but for now, all signs point to Ybor City. Brightline leaders are working with the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization to make things happen.

The Florida Department of Transportation has launched a statewide listening session to find out what would work best. Brightline already operates between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. A connector from West palm Beach to Orlando is under construction now and is set to be complete by the end of this year or early next year.

Bringing it to Tampa would mean the rail would run along I-4 through Polk County. 

The train would travel up to 120 miles an hour in rural areas, but much slower in cities.

For now, though there are no approved plans for Brightline in Tampa. If that does happen, we’re told it likely wouldn’t become a reality for several more years.

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