Orlando, Fla. - Officials with All Aboard Florida said a proposed bill regulating high-speed trains could threaten its expansion to Orlando and other points across the state.
The bill (SB 386), dubbed the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act, cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday, winning support from the Senate’s Committee on Transportation.
Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Republican sponsoring the legislation, contends the proposal doesn't target any particular rail service. Rusty Roberts, vice president of government affairs for All Aboard Florida, told the Senate committee that the bill could threaten the company’s expansion plans, adding that it “unconstitutionally targets one company.”
SB 386 would require high-speed rail companies such as All Aboard Florida to install railroad safety features and pay for fencing along sections of its tracks where pedestrians could be at risk.
Brightline announced this week that it plans to launch passenger service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in late July.
The plan for Brightline is to run up to 30 trains a day between Miami and Orlando on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
The company’s trains are expected to reach speeds of up to 79 mph between Miami and West Palm Beach; 110 mph between West Palm Beach and Cocoa Beach; and 125 mph between Cocoa and Orlando.
The trains are being built at Siemens’ manufacturing hub in California.