SunRail Station to Serve Universal Orlando Resort Near Orange County Convention Center and Epic Universe Theme Park is Announced.
With the creation of the Shingle Creek Transit Utility Community Development District, the Orlando’s Right Rail coalition and Universal Orlando Resort have made considerable progress toward realizing the vision of commuter rail connectivity throughout Central Florida, one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.
The new Orange County Convention Center SunRail station is a top priority for SunRail and will be planned, financed, constructed, operated, owned, and maintained by this limited-purpose public entity. By extending SunRail and linking Central Florida’s neighborhoods, the Program establishes a commuter rail connection between the Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center.
When finished, it will greatly improve travel within the region for both locals and tourists alike, as over 100,000 people currently work in the International Drive location alone. Brightline, a privately operated intercity rail line that now serves Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and – beginning in 2023 – the Orlando International Airport, will be accessible to locals and tourists via the Corridor.
John Sprouls, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts, remarked, “We are one step closer to creating a multi-directional commuter rail system that benefits our entire region. The new SunRail corridor and convention center station will make it easier for residents to get to work, the airport and to the places they love. And it will enable business growth within the International Drive area and across the region.”
Work on the station’s infrastructure and site planning will shortly get underway in the new district.
Experts in the field of rail transportation predict that the Sunshine Corridor will quickly establish itself as one of the most useful and significant commuter rail tracks in the United States. SunRail’s yearly traffic and revenue, for instance, are expected to increase by more than 50% with the addition of the new Orange County Convention Center station, which was built at no cost to taxpayers in Orange County.
President of the International Drive Chamber of Commerce Maria Triscari has said, “We’ve known for years that connectivity between the airport and International Drive area will be essential to our entire region’s future.” The International Drive Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring Orlando’s Right Rail, a coalition that promotes an all-encompassing regional mass transit plan and is in favor of the Sunshine Corridor Program. “This new station is great news for our entire community.”
“The Sunshine Corridor is critical to moving our workforce. Creating a transportation network that connects our workers to their jobs, our residents to our airport, and allows our visitors to have options when they travel is essential,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Chairman for the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission.
For the convention center station with inter-modal capabilities and a significant piece of rail line, Universal Orlando will provide 13 acres of land to the district at no cost to taxpayers. As a result of the money, it put into Epic Universe, Universal will also do the following:
- To help pay for the convention center station and rail corridor, the District of Columbia is looking to issue up to $125 million in private sector bonds at more favorable terms.
- Donate to the station’s upkeep and operation so that the $2 million annual fee to Orange County residents is eliminated.
- The district has pledged to cover the Sunshine Corridor’s estimated $13 million annual operating costs through a combination of contributions from the district and the Orlando Right Rail coalition’s members.
The Sunshine State is home to more than 800 community development districts. Districts are public institutions that are frequently utilized to assist communities in developing essential infrastructure like roads, water, and sewer services, as well as other projects that conventional governmental organizations may not be able to finance and construct.
For a more detailed view of the Brightline and SunRail projects with Disney and Universal check out this wonderful and in-depth Mickey Views video: