Orlando International Airport (MCO) may soon be connected to Miami by rail. In discussions held at the June meeting of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Board was asked to consider a request by Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) to develop the first passenger rail service from MCO to Miami by 2015.
Privately-owned FECI plans to add approximately 40 miles of new track that will link Orlando to the company’s 200 miles of rail infrastructure already in place. The passenger rail service will be called All Aboard Florida.
“We view the potential opportunity as positive news because it follows our master and strategic plans. The addition of rail, which has always been viewed as significant, will make Orlando International Airport truly an intermodal gateway,” says Phil Brown, Executive Director Orlando International Airport.
Demonstrating a vision for the future, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which operates Orlando International Airport, has already invested in infrastructure for a station that could accommodate up to four rail systems. In discussing the integration of rail Brown explained, “We have planned our intermodal facility in a central location to service both the north and the future south terminal and All Aboard Florida is vying to be the first rail system to operate from it.”
The station as proposed would incorporate the airport’s design concept of The Orlando Experience™ with the prevailing use of light, water, gardens and open spaces for meetings and retail concessions.
In addition to other proposed community rail systems, including SunRail, the airport’s plans include an automated people mover that would provide passengers direct access from the current North Terminal to future expansion including additional aircraft gates to the South. SunRail will be Central Florida’s first commuter rail line connecting four counties and spanning 61.5 miles including a future connection to Orlando International Airport.
According to FECI, All Aboard Florida will create jobs and stimulate local economies. The company estimates the project will create about 6,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs for Florida workers.
After considering FECI’s proposal, the Board approved the request and authorized the Executive Director to develop an agreement with FECI to provide commercial passenger rail service to Orlando International Airport’s Intermodal Facility to be presented to the Aviation Authority Board.