About the Study Area
Florida's Future Corridors initiative is based upon a three-step process that includes a Concept Study for a potential corridor study area; a more detailed Evaluation Study for a corridor or segment within the study area; and more specific decisions about particular alignment(s) within a corridor through the Project Development and Environment process. One corridor study area identified by the Florida's Future Corridors initiative extends from Tampa Bay to the Atlantic Coast across 15 counties in the central part of Florida ("Tampa Bay-Central Florida Study Area"). This study area is an emerging "superregion" that is now the 10th-largest region in the United States, with forecasts of strong growth over the next 50 years.
In 2013, a Future Corridor Concept Report was completed for the Tampa Bay-Central Florida Study Area. This Concept Study identified a regional connectivity gap between the Orlando International Airport and the southern Space Coast and recommended that a Pilot Evaluation Study be conducted to evaluate and build consensus around potential transportation corridors in the Orlando/Space Coast area. The Pilot Evaluation Study would provide an opportunity to encourage high quality growth patterns and environmental stewardship through planning for large tracts of land under single ownership, while ensuring future mobility for people and freight and effective emergency response. The Evaluation Study cited a need to protect environmental resources, including high-quality beaches, lakes, rivers, parks, forests, and preserves; headwaters for the Everglades and the St. Johns River; and wildlife and ecological corridors of statewide significance.
Selection of this study area for a Pilot Evaluation Study is supported by recent and ongoing conservation, land use, and transportation initiatives undertaken:
- In 2007 myregion.org completed a 2050 regional visioning process with stakeholders from the public, private, and civic sectors and input from nearly 20,000 residents of Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, and Volusia counties, culminating in adoption of the "How Shall We Grow?" vision and regional growth compact by representatives of 7 counties and 86 cities. The "How Shall We Grow?" vision identified the potential need for a new or enhanced multimodal corridor connecting Orlando to southern Brevard County.
- In 2012 the Osceola County Expressway Authority, established by the Florida Legislature in 2011, adopted a 2040 Master Plan that identifies potential new transportation corridors in the study area for the Pilot Evaluation Study.
- In 2012 Florida East Coast Industries, Inc., announced the formation of All Aboard Florida, LLC ("All Aboard Florida"), for the purpose of planning and establishing privately operated passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando on a route that would traverse the study area for the Pilot Evaluation Study."
- Since 2013, Osceola County has been working with Farmland Reserve, Inc. (Desert Ranch) to develop a sector plan for a 130,000 acre holding in Osceola County known as the North Ranch Sector Plan.
This Pilot Evaluation Study furthers the State Comprehensive Plan, the Florida Strategic Plan for Economic Development, the 2060 Florida Transportation Plan, and other statewide plans that call for coordinated decision-making and investments to address Florida's long-term economic development, environmental stewardship, community development, and infrastructure needs on a statewide and regional basis.
See the Resources page for additional resource documents related to this study area.