ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S "GRAND REVEAL" LIKELY WILL BE BLAND REVEAL

Publish Date: 
Friday, October 23, 2015 - 10:15am

RICH CAMPBELL - TCPALM

“Grand reveal” is the phrase All Aboard Florida President Michael Reininger used recently to tease a news conference the rail company has scheduled for Nov. 9 in Miami.

Other clues from Reininger include “a new launch in the coming weeks” and “the future is bright.”

Bright for whom?

Not the Treasure Coast.

The speculation is All Aboard Florida will add the name “Bright Line”— one of several names the company trademarked a few years ago — to the trains that will be shuttling passengers between Miami and Orlando beginning in late 2017.

I’m not making plans to attend the grand reveal. However, I’d be interested in the news conference if All Aboard Florida were to make any of the following announcements:

“We are canceling the project.”

Now that would be a GRAND REVEAL.

If this were to occur, the Treasure Coast wouldn’t be subjected to 32 daily passenger trains and the attendant headaches they will bring to our region.

Indian River and Martin counties could immediately drop their costly legal actions against the rail company.

Nov. 9 would forever become a regional holiday.

The future WOULD be bright — again — for the Treasure Coast.

“We can’t sell our bonds.”

In August, the Florida Development Finance Corp. gave All Aboard Florida the green light to market $1.75 billion of tax-exempt bonds to finance the rail project.

However, a recent Bloomberg article suggested Fortress Investment Group — the hedge-fund company that owns All Aboard Florida — may be having trouble lining up investors for the bonds.

“We’re adding a train stop on the Treasure Coast.”

Currently, no train stop is planned for our three-county area. And, given the level of animus and opposition to the project throughout our region, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get one.

I suspect many folks in our region would soften their opposition to the project if they learned they could board a train locally for Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

Alas, I doubt any of my desired announcements will be forthcoming on Nov. 9.

The grand reveal will be little more than a bland reveal — with rail company officials rebranding a controversial project that will harm our region for years to come.

Nothing new here.

Move along.