BOCA RATON, Fla. — Ahead of a critical vote next week in the push to bring a Brightline train station to Boca Raton, the company’s president is talking about the major plan to FOX 29 for the first time.
Brightline, soon to be Virgin Trains USA, wants to build a train station and parking garage just east of the Boca Raton Public Library, next to N. Dixie Highway.
"I think it's a very good deal for the city of Boca," said Patrick Goddard, President of Brightline. "I think it's a win win for everybody."
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Boca Raton City Commission will vote on whether to approve a lease agreement to allow the train station and parking garage to be built.
Under the agreement, Brightline would pay for the construction of the train station, while Boca Raton would pay $12 million to build the parking garage.
Brightline, which currently runs daily train service between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, is also planning to build a station in Aventura. Goddard said Boca Raton and Aventura are equidistant to the company's current train stations, and they're heavily populated commuter towns.
"They're phenomenal destinations," said Goddard. "As people want to explore more of Florida and cross borders to experience other cities within the South Florida region, this is a phenomenal opportunity."
🔽 INTERVIEW WITH BRIGHTLINE PRESIDENT 🔽
Goddard added the travel time from West Palm Beach to Miami, a total of 67 miles, would not be affected by the addition of a stop in Boca Raton.
"Boca will be about a two-minute stop," said Goddard. "Our goal is not to create dozens more stops up and down the corridor."
While many residents expressed interest and excitement in the plan at a city commission meeting back in July, others worried about the noise, construction, and potential impacts on traffic.
"It could be good, it could be terrible," said Bill Gelin, who lives in the area.
Virgin Trains USA said they would like to have a station built in Boca Raton by the end of next year.
"To view this as anything other than a phenomenally positive thing for the Boca Raton community is misguided," said Goddard. "You're going to connect to a $5 billion system for very little money, and I think it's going to have an incredibly positive impact on this community."
🔽 RENDERINGS OF TRAIN STATION 🔽