The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization Regional Intermodal Connections Committee collects information for the Miami intercity rail company.
Brightline's expansion from Orlando to South Florida is expected to begin service in the summer of this year and will run through Brevard County as it travels between Orlando International Airport and South Florida.
Why it matters: A new Brevard County rail station could create jobs, attract development and increase tourism to the area.
Brightline is not yet committed to a particular station location on the coast. However, it has been involved in committee meetings with the Space Coast TPO. Brightline would likely have the final word on the location of the station.
What we know about:
What is the status of the Brightline station that could be built in Brevard County so far?
Cocoa is interested in having a train station there and was identified in an earlier study as a good location. Melbourne has also been mentioned as a possible station location but hasn't yet presented itself to the committee.
What has Cocoa to say about Brightline's proposed train station?
At the last Regional Intermodal Connections Committee on April 13th, city officials stated that they see themselves as a strong candidate due to its central location within the county. The city has proposed a future train station on 90 acres of land near North Cocoa Boulevard. Brightline and the city each own 45 acres. Samantha Senger, the city's director of communication/economic development, said during the April 13 meeting that the city would like to see a combination of residential and commercial development, along with a hotel, restaurants and passive recreation.
Brightline's possible expansion will "bring growth, tourism, opportunity, jobs, and development," Senger stated during the meeting.
What has Brevard County stakeholder said about the potential Brightline station?
Micah Loyd, vice chair of the Port Canaveral Board, said at a meeting on April 5, that he preferred a Cocoa station to a Melbourne one.
Loyd replied, "I know... we won't get many cruise passengers." They won't necessarily fly to Orlando, ride half way and then get off. Port Canaveral is not directly involved in the logistics, but I would love to see this event take place in Cocoa as a leader of my community."
Loyd stated that a letter of support could be written to update the original support of the Cocoa Station when the initial report was released in 2016.
What is next for the Space Coast TPO Committee and Brightline study efforts?
On May 17, July 19, and August 23, the committee will hold three additional meetings to discuss different topics. The meetings are aimed at gathering additional information that can be presented to Brightline.
During the meeting, the county's planning organization for transportation announced that it had received an intermodal grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to study station and ridership. The study will begin in July 2023, and end in February 2025.
Are there other Florida counties along the east coast?
Kim DeLaney of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council's director of strategic policy and development, stated during the committee meeting on April 13 that Brightline would open a Treasure Coast Station within five years after opening its Orlando route, as part of the settlement of the lawsuit between Brightline, Indian River County, and Brightline.
DerLaney said that both the city of Stuart, in Martin County, and Fort Pierce, in St. Lucie County have also expressed interest in Brightline stations.