$250M federal funding approved by Trump may help SunRail, Brightline

Posted on March 26, 2018

By: Veronica Brezina, Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal


Central Florida's commuter rail and the high-speed train may benefit from the nation's $1.3 trillion budget.

President Donald Trump signed the omnibus bill on March 23 after it was approved by the Senate earlier that day and approved by the House on March 22. The spending plan includes $250 million for positive train control, which helps keep trains informed about what’s on the tracks ahead so they can avoid crashes safely.

Several years ago, the federal government issued an unfunded mandate that railroad systems must use this system, driving up SunRail’s prices for its future phases. The deadline to have the systems completed is 2018, according to the American Association of Railroads.

Positive train control "enhances safety by preventing certain types of rail incidents, such as train-to-train collisions or over-speed derailments," SunRail Executive Director Nicola Liquori previously told Orlando Business Journal.

SunRail recently awarded a $62 million contract to Wilmerding, Pa.-based Wabtec to design, install, test and implement the safety technology.

The All Aboard Florida Brightline officials said it also was working on the installation of positive train control for the entire $3.5 billion rail system between Miami and Orlando. Positive train control will be in place between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018 and will operate along the entire 235-mile route when the extension to Orlando opens in 2020.

Officials at the Florida Department of Transportation were not available for comment.

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