The Real Deal Miami

Treasure Coast loses another bid to stop Brightline extension to Orlando

It was one of several unsuccessful legal challenges by the Treasure Coast to the planned extension of Brightline from South Florida to Orlando

Brightline passenger rail service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach is expected to start by year-end.

An administrative law judge Friday denied a challenge to the South Florida Water Management District’s decision to issue a permit needed to extend the planned Brightline passenger rail service from South Florida to Orlando.

The judge tossed out the challenge brought by Martin County, St. Lucie County and the Town of St. Lucie Village.

It was one of several failed efforts by local governments in Florida’s Treasure Coast region to challenge the planned extension of the Brightline rail service to Orlando.

In May, for example, a federal judge denied a challenge by Martin County and Indian River County against the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to issue Private Activity Bonds to finance the development of Brightline.

The Brightline service is expected to begin this year in South Florida between downtown stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

The administrative law judge’s action on Friday cleared the way for the South Florida Water Management District to issue a permit authorizing construction and operation of a storm water management system, modifications of certain culverts and bridges, and improvements to 23 roadway crossings between West Palm Beach and the northern border of St. Lucie County.