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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Brightline’s second phase to expand from South Florida to Orlando got its final government approval.

The Department of Transportation issued their decision clearing the last environmental approval needed to build the system between West Palm Beach and Orlando, the company announced Friday.

“This is the most critical and final step in the extension of Brightline’s service to Orlando, and we are excited to move forward with Phase 2,” said Dave Howard, Brightline’s CEO.

The next step will be finalizing the design for the rail infrastructure and the 70-acre vehicle maintenance facility that will be located at Orlando International Airport.

The company is testing their Phase 1 routes which has stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.

They’re routes that have not launched yet.

Brightline says they plan to announce a launch date for their routes between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach “soon.”

They plan on becoming fully operational and extend service to downtown Miami by early 2018.

“We look forward to launching service to Miami and starting construction north to Orlando in the first quarter of 2018,” said Howard.

Once built and services launched, the company says riders will be able to go from West Palm Beach to Miami in 1 hour and from Fort Lauderdale to Miami in 30 minutes.


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