March 2020

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.

Read more about this article here.

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.

POMPANO WOMAN STRUCK AND KILLED BY BRIGHTLINE TRAIN

A WOMAN WAS KILLED AFTER THEIR CAR WAS STRUCK BY A BRIGHTLINE TRAIN TUESDAY MORNING, reports NBC Miami. The Broward Sheriff's Office pronounced her dead at the scene.

This is the 44 death after being struck by a Brightline since the its initial test runs in 2017.

Read more here.

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.