Legislative Issues

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD REJECT $3.7 BILLION LOAN TO JAPANESE-OWNED COMPANY FOR FLORIDA HIGHER-SPEED RAIL PROJECT OPERATING ON MEXICAN COMPANY-OWNED LINE

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MAY APPROVE A $3.7 BILLION RAILROAD REHABILITATION & IMPROVEMENT FINANCING (RRIF) LOAN TO VIRGIN TRAINS, owned by SoftBank Group based in Tokyo, to build a high-speed passenger train project on a freight rail line owned by Grupo Mexico.

SoftBank Group and Grupo Mexico could easily afford to issue their own bonds to cover these costs.

NEW LAWSUIT: INDIAN RIVER COUNTY SUES VIRGIN TRAINS OVER RAIL-CROSSING MAINTENANCE

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY HAS FILED ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST VIRGIN TRAINS ON WEDNESDAY. This lawsuit argues that the county should not be enforced to pay for 21 crossing improvements along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor.

Prior to the establishment of Virgin Trains USA, Indian River County had an agreement with the FEC to maintain freight crossings.

BRIGHTLINE GOES VIRGINAL. WHAT PRICE VIRGINITY?

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ARE BEING MADE AFTER BRIGHTLINE BEING PURCHASED BY VIRGIN LAST MONTH, reports David Peter Alan of the Railway Age. These developments include an IPO for stock and a possible additional station near Disney World.

TRAIN WRECK TIMES | HOLIDAY EDITION

The Train Wreck Times by Susan Mehiel - Holiday Edition

WE HAVE MUCH TO CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Despite all of the so-called positive media they’ve drummed up and the votes by Martin County and CARE FL, AAF/Virgin is no closer to starting construction on the second phase of the project than they were when the year started…think about that for a minute.

CONGRESSMEN TAKE AIM AT BRIGHTLINE BONDS

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN MAST AND POSEY POINT TO AN OCT. 31 REPORT as they press the Department of Transportation to stop the extension Brightline has requested to issue tax-exempt bonds. These bonds are needed to expand Brightline's second phase from South Florida to Orlando.

The report is from the state Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, which supported financial and safety concerns about Brightline's service, as well as stating that the DOT hasn't used its authority to regulate the high-passenger rail's expected speeds.

TRAIN WRECK TIMES - CELEBRATE GREAT NEWS

WE ARE CELEBRATING GREAT NEWS. Our Call to Action sent out Nov. 18 to attend a special meeting of the IRC commissioners on Nov. 20th turned out to be critical. At 7:45 p.m. the night before the meeting, we received notice that the meeting would focus on a deal negotiated between Martin and Indian River Counties and CARE with the representatives of AAF/Virgin. The attorneys for the respective counties circulated the deal to their commissioners.

THIS RAPID LINE WAS PRIVATELY FINANCED AND BUILT. CAN THE STATE REGULATE IT?

SEN. DEBBIE MAYFIELD PLANS TO PUSH FOR MORE STATE OVERSIGHT OF ALL ABOARD FLORIDA’S BRIGHTLINE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE. This bill was founded by troubling issues found from reading an Oct. 31 report from the Legislature’s Office of Program Poly Analysis and Government Accountability.

SHOULD THIS BRIGHTLINE 'CONFLICT OF INTEREST' BE ALLOWED TO STAND?

IT'S PRETTY CONVENIENT THAT THE BOARD CHAIRMAN OF AN AGENCY CHARGED WITH APPROVING YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT PLAN HAPPENS TO ALSO BE YOUR BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR CONSULTANT, states Nancy Smith of the Sunshine State News. Smith is referring to John Miklos who represented All Aboard Florida, president of the private environmental firm, Bio-Tech Consulting, and is the appointed head of the St. John's River Water Management District - the state regulatory board that reviewed and approved the Brightline project to convert 100-plus wetlands acres for new rail lines.

BEWARE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF SELLING VERO BEACH'S DOWNTOWN POST OFFICE | OPINION

TUNE INTO LAURENCE REISMAN WHO CREATES A HYPOTHETICAL CONVERSATION ABOUT UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES THAT MAY ARISE REGARDING THE SALE OF VERO BEACH'S DOWNTOWN U.S. POST SERVICE BUILDING. Reisman proposes that a location such as this may be purchased to be sold exponentially at a higher price by using it as a bidding war device between Brightline and the Treasure Coast residents who oppose the high-speed passenger rail.

CONGRESSMEN CALL ON FEDS TO SUSPEND BRIGHTLINE BONDS

FIVE CONGRESSMEN CALLED ON FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS TO SUSPEND THE $1.15 BILLION IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS FOR ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S BRIGHTLINE PASSENGER RAIL, saying there are still a number of "yet-to-be answered questions" concerning Brightline's use of the bonds. These five include four Florida lawmakers and Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Government Operations.