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Miami-Dade considering $500 million deal with Brightline to build the Northeast Corridor, a proposed commuter rail in Miami-Dade County with six new stations

Miami-Dade County is gearing up to consider a significant $500 million agreement with Brightline to enhance the commuter rail infrastructure along the Florida East Coast Railway. Jose Gonzalez, Executive Vice President of Florida East Coast Industries, which owns Brightline, indicated that the county commissioners are slated to discuss this potential deal in the coming months. If approved, Brightline would construct essential infrastructure and stations for the Northeast Corridor rail line, funded by a combination of federal, state, and local financial contributions.


The South Florida Regional Transportation Agency, currently managing the Tri-Rail system west of I-95, is expected to operate the new commuter service, pending approval from Miami-Dade County. The negotiations over the exact financial contribution Brightline will receive are ongoing, with the project's overall cost pegged at $500 million.


Eileen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Commissioner and chair of the county's transportation committee, noted that discussions are progressing smoothly and a proposal may soon be ready for board approval. The project also anticipates a significant federal investment, with President Joe Biden having included a $263.7 million grant in his 2025 budget proposal, which is still awaiting approval but has garnered bipartisan support from South Florida’s congressional delegation.


The proposed commuter rail expansion includes the construction of six new stations along the Northeast Corridor, strategically located in key areas like Downtown Miami, the Design District, Wynwood, Little Haiti, North Miami, and near Aventura. This expansion could mark the beginning of the broader Tri-Rail Coastal Link project, which aims to extend from Miami to Jupiter, pending agreements with Brightline for rail access across the three counties.


Brightline, operational since 2018 and already running routes from Miami to Orlando, is also planning future stations in Stuart, the Orlando area near Disney World, and Tampa. To manage its finances, Brightline is refinancing $2 billion in debt and has adjusted its pricing strategy to accommodate the increased demand for Orlando routes.


 

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