Orlando, Orange County officials optimistic about light rail

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando and Orange County officials said they are more optimistic about having a dedicated rail line from the Orlando International Airport to the Orange County Convention Center.

The latest version of the plan has already been approved by key sources.

The train's developers are hoping to have it running by 2018.

The maglev train system is an above-ground train that doesn't have to stop for traffic, which is similar to what Orlando hopes to have.

"We are looking at a light rail system that would go from the airport to the convention center, entirely paid for by the private sector," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

The maglev version of the train hit a snag last December when the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority opted for a light rail train.

The light rail is similar to the maglev, but operates with metal wheels on a metal track, instead of magnets.

The train would run from OIA to the Florida Mall to the Orange County Convention Center.

"Basically, it's a 15-minute journey. It would cost around $20,” said Light rail sponsor Tony Morris. "They're used to paying $60 for a taxi ride or more for a rental car."

The train would also be privately funded, and it will cost $400 million.

A company in Spain called Globalvia already runs light rail in several cities in Europe, and they want Orlando to be their first U.S. based train.

"That's being negotiated right now, but it would be awesome," said Jacobs.  

"Have you seen a timeframe?" asked Channel 9’s Jamie Holmes.

 "No, I haven't. I know Globalvia is very anxious to move forward on this."

The concept has been approved by the airport authority and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Developers are still trying to get approval from the other governmental entities.

But with private money funding it all, officials say they expect a smooth ride.

"What makes this difference?" asked Holmes.

 "The economics of course. It's time has come," said Morris.

Developers hope to break ground by the end of the year.

The builders also want to expand the track to Port Canaveral.

 

 

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