Posts Tagged ‘brightline’

Broward’s elections chief misled ethics commission about Scott’s sham blind trust

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

By Dan Christensen
Gov. Rick Scott’s newly appointed Broward elections boss was a staunch defender for Scott’s sham blind trust, and falsely told the Florida’s ethics commission five years ago that it was “modeled on” a federal blind trust.
The post Broward’s elections chief misled ethics commission about Scott’s sham blind trust appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Gov. Scott’s huge, hidden stake in Chinese company supplying maker of Brightline trains

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

By Dan Christensen
Gov. Rick Scott and his wife had an enormous, hidden financial stake in a Chinese railway company that supplies components to the U.S. contractor building Brightline passenger trains for All Aboard Florida, a venture the governor strongly backed.
The post Gov. Scott’s huge, hidden stake in Chinese company supplying maker of Brightline trains appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Despite ‘disaster risk,’ trains haul hazardous gas cargo in South Florida

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

By Ann Henson Feltgen
About the same time FEC executives were convincing Florida’s east coast cities and counties to back its idea of privately owned passenger trains traversing downtowns and densely populated neighborhoods, it quietly sought and won permission to haul extremely flammable liquified natural gas along the same tracks.
The post Despite ‘disaster risk,’ trains haul hazardous gas cargo in South Florida appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Will Brightline passenger train survive as counties try to choke off funding?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

By Ann Henson Feltgen
Brightline’s promise to extend its South Florida passenger train service to Orlando is in jeopardy again after two counties asked a judge this month to rescind federal approval of All Aboard Florida’s plan to issue $1.15 billion in bonds to fund the project.
The post Will Brightline passenger train survive as counties try to choke off funding? appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Bill to regulate high-speed passenger trains rolls on

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

A bill aimed at regulating private high-speed passenger train service in Florida that is effectively targeting the Brightline train planned for the east coast rolled through the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.
Sponsor Republican state Sen. Debbie Mayfield of Melbourne insisted that Senate Bill 425 is aimed at the general future of passenger rail in Florida.
“It sets the framework for how all future high-speed rail passenger systems are to be operated in the state of Florida, and it ensures that the proper protections for our citizens are in place,” Mayfield said.
But Rusty Roberts, vice president for All Aboard Florida, which is running Brightline, argued that railroad safety is exclusively covered by federal law, that Brightline was meeting the highest standards – the first railroad in the country to do so, he said – and that the bill’s only intention was to create the framework for litigation to slow down or stop the train.
Brightline intends to begin service with a 79 mph train connecting West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami this summer. Longterm, the company plans to connect West Palm with Orlando with a train going up to 120 mph. And even longer term, Roberts said, the company envisions routes to Tampa and Jacksonville as well.
But much of the political base between West Palm and Orlando is rallying in opposition over concerns about safety of high-speed trains crossing scores of at-grade intersections and numerous waterways. Mayfield’s bill offers requirements for fencing, upgraded intersection crossings and other safety measures, as well as spelling out civil liability.
“We believe, if passed, this bill will jeopardize Florida’s opportunity to connect major metropolitan centers with an express intercity passenger system. Its onerous regulations threaten our ability to complete the planned connection to Orlando, and as a consequence, will affect future expansion to Tampa Bay, and a northern

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Brightline regulatory bills may be pre-empted

Friday, March 10th, 2017

A legislative staff legislative bill analysis for a Florida Senate bill seeking to regulate the proposed, privately owned and run Brightline 110-mph passenger train suggests that Florida may not be able to regulate trains.
The analysis on Senate Bill 386, introduced by state Sen. Debbie Mayfield of Melbourne, includes a comment from the general counsel’s office that declares: “Because of the nature of railroad regulation, the proposed bill – in whole or in part – may be pre-empted by federal laws and regulations.”
If that comes to pass, or if that comment derails SB 386, it could be a critical blow to opponents up and down the east coast of Florida who have been trying to tightly control or even stop the private trains from traveling through on the way from West Palm Beach and Orlando some day.
Mayfield and state Reps. MaryLynn Magar of Tequesta and Erin Grall of Vero Beach had introduced companion bills seeking to lay down safety and security regulations, inspections, fines, and liability standards for private passenger trains traveling at high speeds. Last month they clashed with representatives of the companies behind Brightline during a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee over the necessity, practicality and viability of the measures.
No staff analysis has yet been released on Magar and Grall’s proposal, House Bill 269.
Mayfield, Magar and Grall could not be reached late Friday after the analysis was released.
The analysis of SB 386  also includes this description of federal law:
“Generally, if a railroad is engaged in transportation-related activities, federal law will likely preempt state and local attempts to regulate railroad operations and safety. A number of federal laws control railroad operations, but three commonly found to preempt state and local attempts to regulate railroad activities are the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995, the Federal Railroad Safety

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Brightline brings in new CEO, moves other executives

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Brightline, the private, for-profit intercity passenger railroad that plans to open service in South Florida this summer and one day send a 110-mph train to Orlando, announced the hiring of a new CEO and other executive moves Wednesday.
Dave Howard, a former Major League Baseball executive from New York, was named chief executive officer.
Former Brightline President Michael Reininger was named executive director of Florida East Coast Industries, Brightline’s parent company, where he will lead new development and growth opportunities.
Patrick Goddard was promoted to chief operating officer of Brightline.
Brightline, formerly known as All Aboard Florida, plans to open service between West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami this summer with trains that travel up to 79 mph. Sometime in the future – the timetables are in flux due to litigation and financing issues – the company wants to extend service from West Palm Beach to Orlando, with trains traveling up to 110 mph for most of the route, and up to 120 mph between Cocoa and Orlando International Airport.
“We are poised for tremendous success this year and excited to complete our leadership team as Brightline makes the dramatic transition from building to customer operations,” Reininger stated in a release. “Dave Howard is a proven executive with the leadership qualities that will ensure our customer service and experience are unparalleled.”
Howard has assumed full responsibility for all aspects of the passenger rail business, effective March 6. He previously served in the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, in expanding responsibilities with the New York Mets for more than 20 years, and as president of MSG Sports, the New York based cable and sports entertainment company that owns Madison Square Garden. The Brightline release praised him for having “customer-focused experience and hospitality orientation.”
The post Brightline brings in new CEO, moves other executives appeared first on Florida

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Brightline, Indian River County duke it out before House panel

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Brightline railroad supporters and Treasure Coast counties opposing the higher-speed train planned from Orlando to Miami debated their cases Wednesday before a Florida House committee, showing the high stakes of their fight.
Officials from the train company, and two other train companies, were joined by officials of one of the counties, Indian River for a panel discussion before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, pitting the local’s concerns for safety versus the companies assurances that safety already is addressed.
“This is going to be a tremendous benefit to the entire state of Florida,” Brightline General Counsel Myles Tobin declared.
“It is a railroad, and the cost of doing business is to make it safe,” declared Kate Cotner, assistant county attorney for Indian River County.
At stake is Brightline’s ability to upgrade a rail line and operate privately-run passenger trains from West Palm Beach to Orlando, which will traverse four counties at speeds up to 110 mph without actually stopping in any of them. Two of those counties, Indian River and Martin, are suing, and pushing the Florida Legislature for safety measures beyond what Brightline has deemed necessary.
That fight is a large reason why Brightline has thrown out its timetable for completing the construction and beginning the service. At one time the company anticipated being able to do so late this year. None of the construction has started, and now the service indefinitely delayed.
Also complicating matters are bills pushed by Treasure Coast lawmakers that would require some additional safety measures – universal four-arm crossing gates at all road crossings, strategic fencing, and other items.
The committee was not explicitly hearing House Bill 269, introduced by Republican state Reps. Erin Grall of Vero Beach and MaryLynn Magar of Tequesta. But that bill and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 386 from Republican state Sen. Debbie Mayfield of Melbourne were often cited by railroad officials as

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Orlando is building the train station, not sure when or if trains will arrive

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

By the end of this year Orlando’s gleaming new $211 million train station should be virtually finished at Orlando International Airport, but it may be many years before trains start rolling in – if at all.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority is building a train station based on a vision of the future in which planes, trains, cars and buses all come together at what would be Florida’s tourism hub, with a people-mover tram connecting the station to the main air terminals, and a walkway to the next big air terminal GOAA plans to build next door. There also will be a new parking garage there.
In the vision, the planes would arrive from Sao Paulo, London, Frankfurt, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and elsewhere. The visitors move to the station from the main terminal on the people-mover trams, and then board high-speed trains for South Florida, commuter trains to downtown Orlando and the rest of the SunRail corridor, or light-rail trains to the Orange County Convention Center and the glittery hotels and attractions of International Drive. Or they get off those planes and trains and board buses or taxis, or rental cars, to explore the world’s tourism Mecca of Central Florida.
Construction of the station, known in transportation-jargon as the Orlando Intermodal Transportation Facility, began with contracts and promises for multiple trains and the kind of widespread civic support for which Orlando’s big projects are known.
“We’re moving along. We expect the project to be substantially complete,” GOAA Executive Director Phil Brown said of the train station, the parking garage and the people mover. “We’ll probably be operational in the fall of 2017.”
But trains never come easily for Orlando.
Brightline, formerly known as All Aboard Florida, just unveiled its first train set in West Palm Beach, with assurances that it and 15 others should start rolling,

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