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#1441 A Voice

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 12:52 PM

I have asked that question and the official answer from Brightline has always been that it is an irrelevant question since Phase II is going to be built irrespective of what happens with the bond situation.

 

Anything else beyond that would be idle speculation based on nothing on my part.

 

Really, what else are they going to say?  They can't really admit phase II may not happen without killing prospects for financing (which does appear to be a problem, regardless of what Brightline says publicly) and investment in the overall project.  Notably, the Orlando Aviation Authority (responsible for the new airport station) has admitted the expected trains may never arrive.

 

It is indeed just speculation, but I don't really expect the new construction to Orlando to ever be completed.  However, in fairness I didn't think the project would ever get this far, either.   Maybe some sort of extension north to Cocoa and Jacksonville, because in theory that could be done with minimal investment (wouldn't be high speed), but again, just informed speculation.  



#1442 Anderson

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 04:10 AM

I've got to wonder what the numbers would look like with a Cocoa-Jacksonville extension but no Orlando extension.  On the one hand there's a very good chance they could, if they wanted, milk Amtrak access, both to tracks and to stations, for a decent bit of cash (Amtrak estimated the net pax addition from an FEC operation on the Star to be about 100k; my best guess is that such a number would translate into $5-7m in revenue (though I don't know what the cost profiles would look like).  I also can't say whether the Meteor would do better or worse.  On the other hand, I also have to wonder about the financial profile of a 90-110 MPH train.  Technically it wouldn't be HSR and they'd probably be stuck with a bus to Orlando.


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#1443 MikefromCrete

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:25 AM

The numbers won't be there for a Jacksonville-Miami service. The whole Brightline plan is designed to tap into the two largest markets in Florida. Having trains run up and down the coast won't provide enough revenue. Having to connect to a bus to get to Orlando won't attract anybody. If Brightline doesn't go to Orlando, it won't go anywhere. 



#1444 jis

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 12:33 PM

Yup, if they don't get to Orlando they will just abandon the whole thing and walk away, is my guess. Maybe they'll keep the WPB thing running for a bit. There will be no just Miami to Jacksonville thing run by them without government subsidy.

#1445 neroden

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 09:17 PM

Looks to me like the only delays on the Palm Beach - Orlando construction are bogus NIMBY lawsuits.

Maybe someone can notify Trump of the government paperwork delays which are hindering private business construction.

Anyway, with the regulatory changes already made by *Obama*, Brightline should be able to construct and operate almost everything from WPB to Cocoa without asking anyone's permission, as long as they don't create new obstructions to waterways, don't have in-water work, and don't threaten endangered species. There's a new set of Categorical Exclusions for work on existing railroad rights-of-way. I think this can be done since all the rivers are small; it should be possible to build clear spans over them which don't even go into the riverbanks.

It might be politically necessary to separate the Cocoa extension from the Orlando Airport extension; once the Cocoa extension is a fait accompli, it's probable that the NIMBYs will give up when it comes to the airport extension.
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#1446 jis

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 09:46 PM

There is no NIMBY opposition to construction of the Cocoa - Orlando section. There are still some "who is going to pay for grade crossing improvements?" Issues in Brevard County ( that is between Micco and Cocoa) that will get resolved relatively easily when the time comes. The NIMBY opposition is mostly in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties with some spillover into South Brevard County - specifically Mucco, Barefoot Bay, Valkaria and Grant - all rural areas. And then there is the new State Senator from South Brevard to contend with - Debbie Mayfield. But eventually I think it will get done.

The bottom line is if it is built to Cocoa, building it to Orlando will face no opposition from anyone. Indeed, if it is even built upto Sebastian the rest will pretty much flow through relatively easily in spite of small NIMBY pockets.

Edited by jis, 04 February 2017 - 09:48 PM.


#1447 neroden

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:02 AM

Yes. From the north. It goes past the North Terminal, ducks under the south connecting road to 417 and enters the station from the north.
 
The people mover connecting the North Terminal to the Multimodal Center and the South Terminal is also well advanced in its construction. meanwhile a ten gate South Terminal got funded so its construction is starting up.
 
Take a look at this post way up in this thread to find a Powerpoint presentation that contains a slide showing the lay of the land.

Nice route for extending to Tampa as a single line (no reversal). Here's hoping they can get past the NIMBY explosion and finance it. A Tampa-Orlando-Miami run is an extremely sound route.
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#1448 neroden

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:09 AM

http://malled.blog.p...mpt-rail-bonds/

OK, from what I know about how the law works, DOT just blew away the major lawsuit against the bond certification. If DOT authorizes the second set of bonds (with the EIS now complete), the plaintiffs won't be able to run the same bogus lawsuit tactics.

The morons at Indian River and Martin Counties are still trying to fight this, but the fact is that the only argument they had was premised on the bonds being authorized before the EIS. With that gone, they have no argument. It's an open question whether the new Transportation Secretary will approve the bonds for Phase II, but it *does* seem like the sort of thing you'd *expect* her to approve based on her background.

One of the permit lawsuits (from Indian River) is down, as well:
http://malled.blog.p...htline-project/
And the Indian River government seems to be giving up.

These were bogus lawsuits filed to attempt to delay the project. It looks like they're failing, thank goodness. I'm not sure how many more lawsuits there are left to knock down (Martin County water permit lawsuit looks like it's the last one), but the legal progress seems to be going well.

...and it looks like the recently elected Martin County Commissioners are sick of wasting money on frivolous lawsuits, even though they are officially "leaving All Aboard Florida out of that discussion".
http://www.tcpalm.co...speed/94661308/

OK, so now, just line up the bond investors. Heck, I'd invest if I didn't have much better investment opportunities available this year.

Edited by neroden, 05 February 2017 - 12:21 AM.

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#1449 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 09:39 AM

Maybe someone can notify Trump of the government paperwork delays which are hindering private business construction.


This is not a political post, so both mods and members don't treat it as one.

The protections against action in our constitution, our laws, and our regulations are always a double edged sword so be careful what you wish for.

Donald Trump, like him or not, is a fast-change leader- that's probably the only thing both sides can agree on.

All of the perceived good things that Trump's supporters believe he will do for our country, those are going to be slowed, muddled, or stopped altogether by the slowing gum of that regulatory system. Whatever good he does or intends to do will be affected and slowed by it.

Flip side: All of the perceived bad things that Trumps detractors believe he will do for our country, those things are going to be slowed, muddled, or stopped altogether by the gum of that same regulatory system. Whatever bad he does or intends to do will be affected and slowed by it.

As you can see from my identically worded presentation I am not taking sides on our President at this time. I personally feel I should let him have the same 100 days as every other president to judge him (although I believe people should voice (and more so mount) all opposition to specific issues they have. He has been in office for 17 days. I am inclined to give him the the remaining 83 before taking an overall position.

Especially since, as far as I can tell, both sides of the Trump debate seem to be actually totally clueless as to the mans intentions. E.G. There are members on this board who support Trump because they feel certain his intention is to greatly improve transit, while others detest him because they feel certain his intent is to obliterate it.

I personally don't have a clue. And my experience is that this is the case either when the perpetuating subject is clueless- or has a carefully devised plan that he is hiding because no matter how good the plan may or may not be, somebody will object to it, and he wants to implement it before people figure out what it is. I favor the latter, for better or worse.

My main point is that we should be careful when we object to the gummy works of our government. For as many things that we want that it slows or spoils, it slows or spoils things we don't want.

Mods: if you think parts of my post are unjustified, feel free to delete anything you see as excessively political. But please leave the first five paragraphs and the one above this instruction. I think it is too important a point.
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#1450 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 02:14 PM

Good post Lion! I despise the guy and all he campaigned on, ( George Wallace and Nixon's playbook)but as you say the system moves slow (which is the genius of our founding fathers)so extremes usually don't prevail in Washington, in the long run the old Watergate saying "Follow the Money"and an even older one "Money talks,and BS walks!" will be the course of State.

President come and Presidents go, but the System is forever and let's not forget that in Sodom on the Potomac the 2018 and 2020 Elections are already underway!

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#1451 jis

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 02:17 PM

As a sage philosopher said, the main purpose of governing laws is to keep a bad government from doing too much harm :)



#1452 Ziv

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 02:28 PM

GML, I am a Realtor, and when I have a client looking at buying a house in a Home Owners Association, I tell them "The great thing about an HOA is it doesn't allow your neighbors do anything really stupid to the outside of their home. The negative aspect of an HOA is that it doesn't allow you to do a lot of really cool things to the outside of your property." And then I grin at them. Most of them laugh.

Gridlock is kind of similar in a way. It hampers your team and that feels like a negative, but it also hampers the other team in their efforts to do "stupid" things, so it kind of balances out.

 

I just want to see Brightline up and running, and from Miami all the way to Orlando would be outstanding. I have been so irritated by the NS and CAF fiascos, any movement forward on rail is doubly welcome.

 

If memory serves, the FECR extends from Miami to Jacksonville. Now THAT would be a cool route for Brightline to cover, eventually. I drove from College Park MD to Key West back in 1984 for Spring Break. The half way point was about 60 miles north of the Florida line, if memory serves.  Florida is a huge state. Having a decent train serving north to south would be a great transportation option.

 

 

 

Maybe someone can notify Trump of the government paperwork delays which are hindering private business construction.


This is not a political post, so both mods and members don't treat it as one.

The protections against action in our constitution, our laws, and our regulations are always a double edged sword so be careful what you wish for.

Donald Trump, like him or not, is a fast-change leader- that's probably the only thing both sides can agree on.

All of the perceived good things that Trump's supporters believe he will do for our country, those are going to be slowed, muddled, or stopped altogether by the slowing gum of that regulatory system. Whatever good he does or intends to do will be affected and slowed by it.

Flip side: All of the perceived bad things that Trumps detractors believe he will do for our country, those things are going to be slowed, muddled, or stopped altogether by the gum of that same regulatory system. Whatever bad he does or intends to do will be affected and slowed by it.

As you can see from my identically worded presentation I am not taking sides on our President at this time. I personally feel I should let him have the same 100 days as every other president to judge him (although I believe people should voice (and more so mount) all opposition to specific issues they have. He has been in office for 17 days. I am inclined to give him the the remaining 83 before taking an overall position.

Especially since, as far as I can tell, both sides of the Trump debate seem to be actually totally clueless as to the mans intentions. E.G. There are members on this board who support Trump because they feel certain his intention is to greatly improve transit, while others detest him because they feel certain his intent is to obliterate it.

I personally don't have a clue. And my experience is that this is the case either when the perpetuating subject is clueless- or has a carefully devised plan that he is hiding because no matter how good the plan may or may not be, somebody will object to it, and he wants to implement it before people figure out what it is. I favor the latter, for better or worse.

My main point is that we should be careful when we object to the gummy works of our government. For as many things that we want that it slows or spoils, it slows or spoils things we don't want.

Mods: if you think parts of my post are unjustified, feel free to delete anything you see as excessively political. But please leave the first five paragraphs and the one above this instruction. I think it is too important a point.

 


Edited by Ziv, 06 February 2017 - 02:29 PM.


#1453 jis

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 02:33 PM

Ziv, we at the halfway point between Miami and Jacksonville on the FECR are looking forward eagerly to the Orlando service, mainly because we have been given to understand that any further expansion of service depends on a successful operation of the Orlando service. If that does not happen then all bets are off. So far it looks promising in spite a of a few skeptics around like The Voice. But with these things you really never know until the proverbial fat lady sings.



#1454 Steve4031

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:22 PM

GML. That was well stated. As was the HOA analogy. Hopefully the process results in continuing improvements in the infrastructure of our country.

#1455 cirdan

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:00 AM

Sorry if this is a stupid question.I'm getting a bit confused here.

 

The real purpose of AAF is to boost the real estate holdings of Fortress Investment Group. 

 

That means, they want to leverage the value of the site at Miami so they can charge high rents.

 

AAF is also developing stations at WPB and Fort Lauderdale. Whereas these sites will also generate some rental revenue, I'm assuming that is just incidental. The real cherry on the cake here is Miami.

 

Now at the Orlando end, Fortress doesn't own the land and doesn't own the terminal. In fact AAF will pay rent to the airport authority. And seeing the airport is forfeiting taxi and parking income, the charges for the station are not exactly going to be cheap.

 

So what we have here is a real estate company paying to rent somebody else's real estate.

 

In other words, Miami is going to have to be so profitable that it can offset all the costs at Orlando, plus the costs of running a railroad, plus make a profit.

 

Is that realistic?

 

Or are they maybe secretly planning to stop when Phase 1 is done?  Will the combined effects of Brightline and Tri Rail provide sufficient leverage that the reral estate business in Miami can fly?



#1456 jis

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 07:45 AM

As far as I have heard from them they expect Brightline service to be profitable by itself, and help enhance the value of their properties. My understanding is that they do not expect to reach profitability of Brightline by itself until they have service up and running to Orlando.

 

Cost of Orlando has to be borne completely by Brightline in their plans. Their business plan assumes that rail operations will not need subsidy from real estate when it is up and running completely, but will require startup subsidy for several years.

 

I don't understand how Orlando Airport will forfeit taxi and parking income for AAF. In fact it will be getting additional taxi and parking income from those who come to the airport to ride on Brightline.

 

Wih the railroad they are trying to capture some 2-4% of the total travel market between Miami Metro Area and Orlando. That is where the money is in the travel market.



#1457 Ziv

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 07:54 AM

Cirdan, everything I have read seems to indicate that Fortress is a real estate company first and foremost, as you note. But, I think Miami won't work nearly as well without traffic from Orlando. Having a railroad with just one major destination would be a recipe for mediocrity, or for a small, one line commuter service. Having the two very different cities/counties as hubs/destinations would make Brightline the tie that binds, so to speak. 

IF, and that is a major qualifier, if Fortress thinks they can work Tampa or Jacksonville in profitably, they may do so. Orlando brings a huge amount to the table at a reasonable price. I am not sure that Tampa does.

It is possible that a Jacksonville route would be profitable for Fortress by increasing their land values in northern Florida, with a relatively moderate investment on Fortress' part. 


Edited by Ziv, 07 February 2017 - 07:56 AM.


#1458 Eric S

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 08:53 AM

I would think that Orlando Airport could potentially lose parking and taxi income from improved and expanded local/regional transit services (whether a SunRail commuter rail extension or the proposed light rail line) but that Brightline intercity rail service would, at worst, have a negligible negative impact and would quite likely have a positive impact on such income for the airport.



#1459 cirdan

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 10:50 AM

I would think that Orlando Airport could potentially lose parking and taxi income from improved and expanded local/regional transit services (whether a SunRail commuter rail extension or the proposed light rail line) but that Brightline intercity rail service would, at worst, have a negligible negative impact and would quite likely have a positive impact on such income for the airport.

 

This is an interesting discussion.

 

People might drive from all over the Orlano metro area to park their car in Orlando airport and then ride Brightline to Miami. That is a net positive for the airport.

 

But then there may also be people in places like West Palm Beach who presently drive to Orlando to park and catch a plane, who may in future use Brightline.

 

Then there is also the question of how well Brightline is marketed to tourists. So a tourist who doesn't know Brightline exists may well book a rental car in advance and then use that from Orlando. But if that tourist is aware of Brightline in advance and Brightline goes where they want to go, the airport is losing out (especially if Brightline can convince rental car companies to establish offices at Brightline's other stations).  



#1460 jis

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 11:08 AM

But then there may also be people in places like West Palm Beach who presently drive to Orlando to park and catch a plane, who may in future use Brightline.

That is a very small proportion. WPB is not considered to be within the catchment area of MCO at all. They tend to go to West Palm beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports  from the Palm Beach area rather than to Orlando, Melbourne or Sanford.

Then there is also the question of how well Brightline is marketed to tourists. So a tourist who doesn't know Brightline exists may well book a rental car in advance and then use that from Orlando. But if that tourist is aware of Brightline in advance and Brightline goes where they want to go, the airport is losing out (especially if Brightline can convince rental car companies to establish offices at Brightline's other stations).

Orlando Airport is not very worried about it, neither should you be ;). As I mentioned above AAF is hoping to capture maybe tops 5% of the overall Orlando - Palm Beach - Miami market. 95% will still continue dong what they do. The impact of Brightline on overall usage of the facilities that are worrying you will be at the margins at least for the next decade. Attitude towards trains may change and a more connected network might develop some day to change the situation. but it will take a long time in Florida.

 

As it turns out a small percentage of an enormous market may prove to be adequate to self-support the operation. or that is what Gene Skorpowski and Co's projections and business plans say.

 

And yes, Brightline will be establishing relationships with rental car companies as well as Uber/Lyft to provide a seamless experience to its customers. So that is not an "if". That is a certainty. But still skimming off 5% from a relatively fast growing and huge market does not seem to concern any of the airports. Orlando Airport actually seems to believe that what they gain in high value customers through access provided by Brightline from WPB will far outweigh any losses to the same access. Remember, Orlando Airport is also a big mall and a hotel, and will be more so with its own growth, adn access of any kind is a good thing. That is why they don;t mind SunRail either.






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