All Aboard Florida

BRIGHTLINE WANTS $350M TO BUILD FIVE RAIL STATIONS IN FLORIDA

BRIGHTLINE BEGAN TALKS WITH MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TO BUILD FIVE TRAINS PLATFORMS BETWEEN MIAMI AND AVENTURA ALONGSIDE THEIR HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER RAIL TO ORLANDO. This proposed arrangement would give Miami-Dade a new rail service—a service described like Tri-Rail—with stops at Wynwood, the Design District, El Portal, North Miami and the Biscayne Bay campus of Florida International University.

Read more here.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SEES VIRGIN TRAINS FINANCING AS THREAT TO 'SEPARATION OF POWERS'

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SENDS THEIR LAWSUIT AGAINST BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS USA TO THE SUPREME COURT, asking to clear up an issue that threatens the court's "constitutional responsibility 'to say what the law is.'"

Previously, cases that Indian River County had been filed against the high-speed passenger rail were shot down by the lower courts. This year, Indian River County raised $200,000 to make this one last appeal.

ALL ABOARD FLORIDA: BUY ME A RAILROAD

IF YOU CAN'T CONVINCE THE PUBLIC YOU'VE GOT A GOOD IDEA, convince the politicians and let them ram it down the citizens' throats. All it takes is money.

What's $3 Million Among Friends?
According to the TC Palm/Stuart News, as little as $3 million may be all that's necessary. That's how much AAF has spent on lobbyists in Tallahassee since 2011. But, they still need some 17 permits before they can move forward. So, the budget may have to go up.

RICHARD BRANSON FIGHTS TO SAVE TRAVEL, TOURISM EMPIRE

RICHARD BRANSON, ONE OF BRITAIN'S BEST-KNOWN BILLIONAIRES BY PUTTING HIS VIRGIN TRAIN BRAND ON AN ARRAY OF BUSINESSES, is now at the epicenter of the meltdown in those industries due to the economic repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Branson said he planned to borrow money against his private island to save jobs at his portfolio companies. "Over the five decades I have been in business, this is the most challenging time we have ever faced," he wrote in a letter to his employees.

STATE SUSPENDS BRIGHTLINE'S NEGOTIATIONS FOR ORLANDO TO TAMPA RIGHT-OF-WAY

THE RIGHT-OF-WAY LEASE THAT BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS USA NEEDS TO CONNECT ORLANDO WITH TAMPA IS ON HOLD. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has extended the negotiation deadline for this lease due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FDOT and Brightline have extended the negotiation deadlines regarding this lease five times before.

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VIRGIN TRAINS USA/BRIGHTLINE SUSPENDS SERVICE 250 WORKERS LOSE JOBS

Virgin Trains USA, the parent company of the Brightline higher-speed passenger rail has stopped train service between Miami and West Palm Beach as of Wednesday evening due to the Coronavirus.

The company also confirmed it has laid off 250 out of more than 300 South Florida workers. The layoffs were not limited to local station and track workers: Among those laid off was Bob O’Malley, Vice President of Corporate Development.

RESIDENTS POOL $200K SO FLORIDA COUNTY CAN TAKE SUIT AGAINST VIRGIN TRAINS TO SUPREME COURT

THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFE TRAINS NONPROFIT GROUP HAS RAISED $200K IN PRIVATE MONEY. This money has been raised for Indian River County to pursue its case against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Indian River County had previously sued the U.S. DOT and FRA for wrongly issuing $2.7B in tax-exempt bonds, but both a federal court and a federal appeals court ruled the bonds were permissable. After $3M fighting the case, the Indian River County Commission voted in January to end further appeals.

FRA: EIGHT RAILROADS AT RISK OF MISSING PTC DEADLINE

THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINSTRATION RELEASED A FOURTH-QUARTER 2019 REPORT FEB 27, highlighting the status on railroads' progress in implementing positive train control (PTC) systems as required by Congress.

According to the report, eight host railroads, including Florida East Coast Railway—and their tenant railroad, Brightline/Virgin Trains USA— are at risk of not fully implementing a PTC systems by the Dec 31, 2020 deadline.

Read more here.

FLORIDA'S BRIGHTLINE RAILROAD IS NATION'S DEADLIEST AFTER HIGH RATE OF TRACK DEATHS

FLORIDA OFFICIALS ARE CONSIDERING LEGISLATION TO CURB HIGH NUMBER OF DEATHS ON THE TRACKS OF THE BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS USA PASSENGER RAIL. Since Brightline's launch, an average of more than one person a month has been killed, designating it as the "nation's deadliest railroad."

During a news conference, Brightline stated that 75% of the incidents were results of suicide or drugs, but a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) study reveals that suicides only account for 30% of all rail fatalities.

BRIGHTLINE PASSENGER COUNTS, REVENUE REMAIN WELL BELOW COMPANY'S OWN PROJECTIONS

BRIGHTLINE/VIRGIN TRAINS USA REPORT FINDS THAT 2019 PASSENGER COUNT AND REVENUES WERE FAR BELOW ITS OWN FORECASTS. Passengers count barely broke one million, less than half the count originally projected, and revenue was $22 million, less than a fifth.