'Orange Blossom Express' train would run from Orlando to Lake - FOX 35 News Orlando

'Orange Blossom Express' train would run from Orlando to Lake County

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The Florida Department of Transportation is working on a U.S. 441 corridor study that may eventually bring a train called "The Orange Blossom Express" from downtown Orlando to Lake County with stops in Apopka, Eustis and Tavares.

State Rep. Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, has been working on the idea for more than six years and thinks it is a great idea, especially with all of the commuters that travel from Lake each day into Orlando.

"Boy wouldn't you just love to get on a train in Tavares, have your Wi-Fi on a train. Get your work done as you get into work, and presto you're there. Same thing going home."

FDOT gave a presentation with multiple options for improving transit along what is usually a jam packed area of 441 between Orlando and Leesburg.  Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer says good idea, but only if people actually want to ride that train.

"Two years from now, if we have an idea of whether or not that train is going to work, than home run. If that study ends up sitting on a shelf for the next five years and nothing ever happens, then we've wasted money."

The state, Orange and Lake counties, plus all of the cities in the corridor have already poured $17 million into improving the tracks in this corridor, but that was only to make sure freight could run smoothly. Brummer says those improvements may help with the cost for commuter service. Right now, no one is certain how much the train would cost taxpayers.

"If the ridership is there, and the cost has come down for infrastructure, clearly then you have to take a look at the Orange Blossom Express."

The best estimate would be using what the state paid for SunRail because the cost could be similar. That cost $10 million per mile. It is 35 miles from downtown Orlando to downtown Tavares.  The study will continue through next year. It is not likely construction could start on a commuter train to Lake County before 2016.

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