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4 hours ago, Uncommon said:

https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2021/06/10/brightline-route-controversy-orlando-tampa-florida.html
 

This could be good news, or potentially devastating news. More pushback from county leaders and other stakeholders about Brightline choosing the 417 route. It seems that’s Brightline’s preferred route but the public wants it to go to I-Drive and an independent study shows it might actually be cheaper than the 417 route, claiming Brightline didn’t do its due diligence on the 528 route. Brightline is back to the drawing board. The deadline is fast approaching.

It could be a positive if it forced Brightline to choose the 528 and serve the tourist area, which is a major win for the region. Imagine a train serving MCO, Disney, Universal, and the OCCC. On the other hand, we’ve seen numerous proposals come and go because of disagreements. I hope to god Brightline doesn’t somehow cancel the route to Tampa entirely. That would be devastating.

So Brightline based their estimates off of their real current costs. The opposition hired a civil firm to counter and it came in lower. Unless Disney is paying Brightline a ton of money, and I mean a ton, why would they sandbag? Between the two groups I know I would not trust the oppositions cost estimates. 

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Christmas Eve 2019 / MCO Intermodal Construction:   Facing South Facing east  

Thing is, with the private vs. public thing, the service evolved into more of a luxury item than a utilitarian item.  I would rather have it subsidized by our government and more accessible to "r

Hidden in the Sentinel article: "Brightline tracks along the expressway would encounter no road crossings where train horns would be used." Additionally, from  CityLab's Debunking 5 Myths About T

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In case anyone wanted to read the article but couldn’t behind the paywall:

Brightline estimates it will cost $2.12 billion for the Taft-Vineland route and $1.03 billion for the State Road 417 route, the latter being the preferred route for the rail company.
Demings said an additional funding source would have to be provided to cover the difference between the two routes if the Taft-Vineland route is chosen.
 

"It's fascinating to have a discussion about the other route, but someone is going to have to pay," Demings said. He added that the county's tourist development tax — a funding source brought up at the meeting — was not yet to a healthy enough level due to the pandemic to be part of the discussion.

Doubling down

The Taft-Vineland route received support from a number of businesses and associations on International Drive — most notably, the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce.

The association and its stakeholders, which include theme parks, major convention hotels, attractions, destinations and more, shared a commissioned study by Watertown, Massachusetts-based engineering firm VHB Inc. that argued the I-Drive route would have a lower cost than estimated.

The VHB estimate, which includes a slightly longer route at 17.17 miles, would be between $1.01 billion and $1.23 billion depending on whether it is partially elevated or fully elevated along Taft-Vineland. That's almost $1 billion lower than Brightline's estimates.

"The study finds that proper due diligence of this project has not been conducted and that the 528 Taft-Vineland route provides a much more effective route option, with a station at the Orange County Convention Center to service the I-Drive corridor and the southwest region," a letter from the chamber of commerce stated.

"We believe that this route is both efficient, inclusive and, according to our financial analysis, is not nearly as costly as Brightline is projecting."
VHB's study alleges more properties are affected on the 417 route — roughly 3,000 — compared to alternative proposed routes, which would have 23 parcels impacted. However, Brightline has projected its version of a Taft-Vineland route would impact 76 private parcels while the 417 alignment will impact only three private parcels.

In addition, regional stakeholders and residents voiced mixed support and opposition for the 417 route. Some stated the effects on the environment, quality of life and noise pollution were not worth it. Others shared their support for the project and the added value of alternative methods to cross the state.

In opposition were some residents of Hunter's Creek, a 25,000-resident community that would see the proposed State Road 417 route cut through its neighborhoods on its way to Disney. The draft of the agreement with Brightline "causes great concern with the Hunter's Creek community," said Michelle Ouimet, general manager at Hunter's Creek Community Association, in a letter that was read during the meeting.

Among the voices in support for the State Road 417 route was Charles Lee, director of advocacy for Audubon Florida, who said the 417 route worked best as a way to transport people from city to city at high speed. He said stops to I-Drive are redundant and was counter to the efficiency of high-speed rail.

Finding a junction point

Brightline's next step appears to include coming back to the board with more information on the proposed routes.
Christopher Maier, another member of the expressway board, asked if Brightline would be open to working with a neutral consultant to provide one uniform set of data on the routes.

That is a possibility, said Michael Cegelis, executive vice president for rail infrastructure with Brightline. He added that the company has been considering alternative routes.

"The basic cost data is from our current experience building, in current day, high-speed rail between Cocoa and Orlando," Cegelis said. "There's the expectation that we might be biased, but we are looking for the best way to get to Tampa. We have a strong economic incentive to do that."

A decision on the alignment is expected to come from the expressway authority in July.
Meanwhile, the rail line must clear several hurdles before a July 31 right-of-way lease negotiation deadline, including securing OKs from Florida Department of Transportation, Orlando Utilities Commission and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. FDOT could back out of supporting Brightline's Tampa route if the requirements are not met by the deadline, as those right-of-ways could be used for other projects, said Cegelis.

Edited by Uncommon
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The arguments of redundancy for the 528 alignment and OCCC stop does not make sense to me, considering Brightline is already adding stops in Aventura, Boca Raton and the future stop in PortMiami. Plus, the OCCC stop could add real estate opportunity with a central station-style concept for Brightline if a light rail or BRT ever happens in the I-Drive area. Maybe another hotel or a condo development at the OCCC parking lot/garage or the smaller hotels on Hawaiian Ct. Pardon my imagination running off there. :tw_weary:

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On 6/10/2021 at 6:16 PM, Uncommon said:

Demings said an additional funding source would have to be provided to cover the difference between the two routes if the Taft-Vineland route is chosen.
 

"It's fascinating to have a discussion about the other route, but someone is going to have to pay," Demings said. He added that the county's tourist development tax — a funding source brought up at the meeting — was not yet to a healthy enough level due to the pandemic to be part of the discussion.

Like I said earlier, Orange County and Orlando will have to put skin in the game to influence Brightline. I think it’s worth the investment because the solution kills 3 birds with one stone. 
1. connection to MCO

2. connection to international drive

3. connection to Disney 

with additional benefits of a southwest line that could only assume other stops. Perhaps a starting  deposit of money from Hotel revenues to get started and a 2nd infusion  of money from the transportation tax that is yet to be passed.

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I recall previous discussions that Disney was opposed to stops along I-Drive / Universal and would only agree to a direct line from MCO.

I this is still the case then I’m sure the chosen alignment would weigh heavily on that stance.

The 528 alignment would be best for the overall metro however, IMO.

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On 6/10/2021 at 4:29 PM, Poe Tempkin said:

It's possible. They're under the gun. time-wise, to reach an agreement, and also under pressure to select what they judge to be a more expensive route. Are any of the parties insisting on the I-Drive route going to pony up money for the increased cost? Is Disney sweetening the deal somehow for exclusivity? I'd also like to see all the areas you mentioned serviced, but just Disney and then onto Tampa would work too.

Its extremely likely Disney is demanding exclusivity and is going to want to renegotiate their deal if Brightline is forced to add a stop at OCCC, so the likely cost to Brightline to add that stop is likely well north of $1 billion. Its likely if they keep up with this fight Brightline doesn't expand to Tampa and instead focuses on other areas where they are not resistant to a profitable rail. Remember, in the not too distant past, the Orlando/Orange County government fought against Globalvia who wanted to build a similar no taxpayer dollars line from the airport to Universal and I-Drive and they kept adding requirements and fees until they were able to successfully push them away. Keep in mind with the 417 route, Brightline is already expected to pay rent on the land and to the airport for eternity, reimburse for lost toll revenue and rental car revenue, among countless other requirements. Throwing an extra billion dollars in construction costs likely is the last leg. The government can never make a profit running these lines without reimbursing other agencies for lost revenue, hell, Sunrail loses money on the very process of selling tickets. It'd literally be cheaper for the taxpayers to not charge to board the trains and get rid of the related equipment.

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I agree it needs to be free!!The near future transit system should instead focus on selling every available space for advertising, charging school districts and universities for student travel, and leasing commercial space to businesses. It can also make money by merging with the central Florida highway authority and lobbying for tourism revenue for lines and stations that cater to tourism activity. Some ideas, who knows if they are politically feasible.

Edited by Urban Mail Carrier
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18 hours ago, aent said:

Its extremely likely Disney is demanding exclusivity and is going to want to renegotiate their deal if Brightline is forced to add a stop at OCCC, so the likely cost to Brightline to add that stop is likely well north of $1 billion. Its likely if they keep up with this fight Brightline doesn't expand to Tampa and instead focuses on other areas where they are not resistant to a profitable rail. Remember, in the not too distant past, the Orlando/Orange County government fought against Globalvia who wanted to build a similar no taxpayer dollars line from the airport to Universal and I-Drive and they kept adding requirements and fees until they were able to successfully push them away. Keep in mind with the 417 route, Brightline is already expected to pay rent on the land and to the airport for eternity, reimburse for lost toll revenue and rental car revenue, among countless other requirements. Throwing an extra billion dollars in construction costs likely is the last leg. The government can never make a profit running these lines without reimbursing other agencies for lost revenue, hell, Sunrail loses money on the very process of selling tickets. It'd literally be cheaper for the taxpayers to not charge to board the trains and get rid of the related equipment.

Do certain parties WANT Brightline to walk or are they just so focused on their self-interest that they'll cause them to?  I looked up the Globalvia affair and, wow, it's like they were using the same playbook: insist on "reimbursement" of certain parties for fees, set a deadline by which to FDOT must be appeased, etc. How is this red tape in the best interest of Orlando, Central Florida, or Florida in general? Here's one article I found:

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/230723-orlando-building-train-station-not-sure-trains-will-arrive/

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3 hours ago, Poe Tempkin said:

Do certain parties WANT Brightline to walk or are they just so focused on their self-interest that they'll cause them to?  I looked up the Globalvia affair and, wow, it's like they were using the same playbook: insist on "reimbursement" of certain parties for fees, set a deadline by which to FDOT must be appeased, etc. How is this red tape in the best interest of Orlando, Central Florida, or Florida in general? Here's one article I found:

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/230723-orlando-building-train-station-not-sure-trains-will-arrive/

I personally believe the Democrats seem to want them to fail, because if we let Globalvia and Brightline succeed, it shows we don't NEED the elected leaders to "take care of us" and build all the transportation projects. Keep in mind that the "need" for the 15% "transportation" sales tax hike (deceptively called a "penny") came about primarily because they chased Globalvia away from building an airport to OCCC light rail or maglev line, and they said we still need that service, and a dedicated transportation tax is the only way to get what we just chased away that was willing to build and operate for free to the taxpayers, and even send tax dollars into the government for letting them do that.

16 hours ago, Urban Mail Carrier said:

I agree! The near future transit system should focus on selling every available space for advertising, charging school districts and universities for student travel, and leasing commercial space to businesses. It can also make money by merging with the central Florida highway authority and lobbying for tourism revenue for lines and stations that cater to tourism activity. Some ideas, who knows if they are politically feasible.

Yup. I mean come on, which transit vehicle do you think is run on tax dollars and which one isn't?

Photo does not have a captionBrightline Train West Palm Beach | Rosemary Square

 

And which one offers student discounts without the schools paying for it and which lets students ride free without charging the university, other then the $143,000 charges our local college and university system?

This entire problem is because our government turned away Globalvia who wanted to build a line from the airport through the entirety of I Drive, a completely self sufficient that would solve the needs of many tourists and take cars off our streets. Even if Brightline builds a stop at the OCCC, how are people really going to get around the I-Drive area? Disney has a very comprehensive transportation system making it unnecessary and more expensive to have a car on property. I-Drive doesn't.

Edited by aent
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7 hours ago, aent said:

This entire problem is because our government turned away Globalvia who wanted to build a line from the airport through the entirety of I Drive, a completely self sufficient that would solve the needs of many tourists and take cars off our streets. Even if Brightline builds a stop at the OCCC, how are people really going to get around the I-Drive area? Disney has a very comprehensive transportation system making it unnecessary and more expensive to have a car on property. I-Drive doesn't.

Good point.

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Your sense of reality is warped dude!!! Go north and you’ll encounter more then one transportation system that provides service on tax payer funds. Who runs those governments???  Go to Europe and they go even further, where transportation is free throughout the country. Who runs those governments?? It’s only here in la Flórida where there are serious issues with transportation. In Florida  the highways are given priority instead of an organized comprehensive public transport. Who runs the Florida government??? Now in the case of  Orlando u can mostly blame the worthless governor DE santis and worthless Governor Scott who interfere in county, airport,  and highway commissions to stymie  TRANSPORTATION initiatives. Placing their henchman to Vote against funding,   And in more then one occasion trying to force out Dyer and Demings out of constitutional mandates out of commissions and boards. But u probably didn’t know that. How about the time when Scott tried to kill Sunrail or when he killed  high speed rail paid for by the Federal government… Henchmen mismanage the government and do not appropriate enough funding to run a system correctly. Then they come back and say “ You see the government sucks, u should have let a for profit agency run that particular service” it’s the oldest ploy. Dude either your blind, ignorant or have a warped sense of reality. 

Edited by Urban Mail Carrier
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26 minutes ago, nite owℓ said:

Good point.

There are two points about that. It begins with Tony Morris’ attempt to bring his maglev here, despite numerous follies which left him with more baggage than Samsonite. Because locals knew about Tony’s problems going back to his days in Oak Hill (between NSB and Titusville), they wanted nothing to do with him.

There’s also the fact that the lovely cast of characters we’ve endured in Tallahassee for the last two decades were all in for Brightline and locals (many of whom owed their jobs to the guv and crew in Tally) weren’t about to upset that apple cart.

All of this goes back to Jeb! and his successors who are the opposite of good governance. To try to deflect it elsewhere is hilarious.

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2 hours ago, Urban Mail Carrier said:

Your sense of reality is warped dude!!! Go north and you’ll encounter more then one transportation system that provides service on tax payer funds. Who runs those governments???  Go to Europe and they go even further, where transportation is free throughout the country. Who runs those governments?? It’s only here in la Flórida where there are serious issues with transportation. In Florida  the highways are given priority instead of an organized comprehensive public transport. Who runs the Florida government??? Now in the case of  Orlando u can mostly blame the worthless governor DE santis and worthless Governor Scott who interfere in county, airport,  and highway commissions to stymie  TRANSPORTATION initiatives. Placing their henchman to Vote against funding,   And in more then one occasion trying to force out Dyer and Demings out of constitutional mandates out of commissions and boards. But u probably didn’t know that. How about the time when Scott tried to kill Sunrail or when he killed  high speed rail paid for by the Federal government… Henchmen mismanage the government and do not appropriate enough funding to run a system correctly. Then they come back and say “ You see the government sucks, u should have let a for profit agency run that particular service” it’s the oldest ploy. Dude either your blind, ignorant or have a warped sense of reality. 

Considering the alternative meth addict that we could have had, ill take DeSantis any day of the week. 

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11 hours ago, Urban Mail Carrier said:

Who runs the Florida government??? Now in the case of  Orlando u can mostly blame the worthless governor DE santis and worthless Governor Scott who interfere in county, airport,  and highway commissions to stymie  TRANSPORTATION initiatives. Placing their henchman to Vote against funding,   And in more then one occasion trying to force out Dyer and Demings out of constitutional mandates out of commissions and boards. But u probably didn’t know that. How about the time when Scott tried to kill Sunrail or when he killed  high speed rail paid for by the Federal government… Henchmen mismanage the government and do not appropriate enough funding to run a system correctly. Then they come back and say “ You see the government sucks, u should have let a for profit agency run that particular service” it’s the oldest ploy. Dude either your blind, ignorant or have a warped sense of reality. 

Again, reality doesn't seem to align here. While yes, they tried to push Dyer and Demings off the commissions and boards, these are literally the board THAT IS VERY MOMENT are trying to chase Brightline away. These are the boards that successfully chased Globalvia away.

Rick Scott didn't try to kill Sunrail, he paused it to investigate it, and they allowed it to proceed when he got elected. It was completely his choice... he had line item veto powers to make it go away. He didn't. He did it with the Obama rail because he warned us it would turn out just like the California HSR appears to be turning out to look like... overpriced, incomplete, and going from nowhere to nowhere. And its fairly obvious we wouldn't have Brightline, on a much more useful route, if the Obama HSR was built... the HSR would be limited to Tampa to Orlando, and not the entire Tampa-Orlando-Miami corridor.

And under Rick Scott and John Mica, Orlando was also in the running for Orange Blossom Express, a SECOND commuter rail for our metro to complement Sunrail. Of course, when Mica lost power to a Democrat, we never heard a word about it again.

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4 hours ago, aent said:

Again, reality doesn't seem to align here. While yes, they tried to push Dyer and Demings off the commissions and boards, these are literally the board THAT IS VERY MOMENT are trying to chase Brightline away. These are the boards that successfully chased Globalvia away.

Rick Scott didn't try to kill Sunrail, he paused it to investigate it, and they allowed it to proceed when he got elected. It was completely his choice... he had line item veto powers to make it go away. He didn't. He did it with the Obama rail because he warned us it would turn out just like the California HSR appears to be turning out to look like... overpriced, incomplete, and going from nowhere to nowhere. And its fairly obvious we wouldn't have Brightline, on a much more useful route, if the Obama HSR was built... the HSR would be limited to Tampa to Orlando, and not the entire Tampa-Orlando-Miami corridor.

And under Rick Scott and John Mica, Orlando was also in the running for Orange Blossom Express, a SECOND commuter rail for our metro to complement Sunrail. Of course, when Mica lost power to a Democrat, we never heard a word about it again.

I'm all for a bash the government talk but Maglev is not the hill to die on. That dude did not seem to have to all together. 

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2 minutes ago, jack said:

I'm all for a bash the government talk but Maglev is not the hill to die on. That dude did not seem to have to all together. 

What about Globalvia? They said they were happy to go out it without the Maglev if that was the issue (although it wasn't, they agreed to post a bond to cover the cost of removal or to turn it over to the county if it wasn't built by a strict deadline). Orlando and Orange County's leadership said nah, we'd rather build it ourself at taxpayer expense and never get it done. Globalvia has an established record of building transit systems.

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16 hours ago, nite owℓ said:

Good point.

Also, how many stops do the powers to be expect in Orlando? The benefit of HSR is to get you from one major metropolitan center to another. 

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1 hour ago, jack said:

Also, how many stops do the powers to be expect in Orlando? The benefit of HSR is to get you from one major metropolitan center to another. 

If South Florida is any indication, it may be several. As originally conceived, Brightline was to an express line servicing Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando. Now Aventura and Boca Raton stops are in the works. Farther up the coast, even where Brightline previously faced opposition, communities are also clamoring for stops. In the Orlando area, so far it's MCO and Disney, with I-Drive area attractions and the convention center now in the mix as well. Beyond the immediate Orlando area, I wonder which communities on the way to Tampa will raise their hands next.

I like the enthusiasm and the demand for the project, but at a certain point it ceases to be an express line. I suppose they could run express and commuter services on the line though.

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17 hours ago, Urban Mail Carrier said:

Your sense of reality is warped dude!!! Go north and you’ll encounter more then one transportation system that provides service on tax payer funds. Who runs those governments???  Go to Europe and they go even further, where transportation is free throughout the country. Who runs those governments?? It’s only here in la Flórida where there are serious issues with transportation. In Florida  the highways are given priority instead of an organized comprehensive public transport. Who runs the Florida government??? Now in the case of  Orlando u can mostly blame the worthless governor DE santis and worthless Governor Scott who interfere in county, airport,  and highway commissions to stymie  TRANSPORTATION initiatives. Placing their henchman to Vote against funding,   And in more then one occasion trying to force out Dyer and Demings out of constitutional mandates out of commissions and boards. But u probably didn’t know that. How about the time when Scott tried to kill Sunrail or when he killed  high speed rail paid for by the Federal government… Henchmen mismanage the government and do not appropriate enough funding to run a system correctly. Then they come back and say “ You see the government sucks, u should have let a for profit agency run that particular service” it’s the oldest ploy. Dude either your blind, ignorant or have a warped sense of reality. 

the Obama rail has already been flushed out years ago on these boards.  The CA system is a failure; a train to nowhere.  Scott is no angel and myself and Spenser already ran commentary on the whole Scott-HSR coinciding with Brightline's announcement and FEC...and Scott's re-review of Sunrail and Mica's involvement and the real benefit to CSX.  It's always politics but there's always more going on behind the scenes than we know.  It's more than Republican's killing rail because that's what they do; it's more than Democrats raising taxes on everyone for rail because that's also what they do.  DeSantis is not a worthless governor by any stretch, but a Democrat or liberal will never admit to that.  I tend to give Buddy, a Democrat a pass often but I've seen  people on these boards like Spenser rake him over the coals for certain policy issues.  They just opened yet another draw bridge replacement in Daytona on a secondary bridge...tell me someone at the City and/or County didn't get paid off to push for that 8-figure investment when Chicago has hundreds of draw bridges and they run just fine. 

It is more complicated than you are portraying...and more complicated than Aent is portraying.  But your retort to Aent on who runs rail systems up north on taxpayer funds is contradicting Aent's point- he said Democrats might want BL to fail because it is a private company and not on taxpayer $$$.  And rail systems in Europe are the same or more so, because those countries are more socialist than the US.  But this was Aent's point; he never stated that you can't have rail systems running on taxpayer $$$.  Anyway...

There are so many bottom lines in play here.  Disney is probably paying BL under the table.  OUC wasn't doing any favors to Sunrail/ FDOT for that easement from Taft to MCO which is a major reason why Sunrail has never built that spur.  OUC is a private entity that expects to get paid; just like MCO and the "lease" to BL.  The Globvalia deal I feel was derailed in part by the Mears lobby.  But that's not talked about; only the money difference GOAA wanted for lost taxi revenues.  There's so much that's been at play here with rail over the years.  Look at the players and follow the money.

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@jrs2Agreed, to supplement your point also remember GOAA's biggest money maker is rental cars.  Mears, Rosen, and Disney had a big part in killing old HSR.  BL knows this and has been pushing to work this out early.  Not stopping on I-drive kinda solves the Rosen and Disney concerns.  Mears at this point has bigger problems now that Uber/Lyft and to a lesser extent Lime/Bird/Spin/Wheels are thing.

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2 hours ago, codypet said:

@jrs2Agreed, to supplement your point also remember GOAA's biggest money maker is rental cars.  Mears, Rosen, and Disney had a big part in killing old HSR.  BL knows this and has been pushing to work this out early.  Not stopping on I-drive kinda solves the Rosen and Disney concerns.  Mears at this point has bigger problems now that Uber/Lyft and to a lesser extent Lime/Bird/Spin/Wheels are thing.

The idea that you have to replace someone else's income because you offer a better product is antithetical to our values. Its the kind of thing that makes we want to protest with a sign that says "tea party 3.0 this time we are serious".  

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On 6/10/2021 at 6:15 PM, jack said:

So Brightline based their estimates off of their real current costs. The opposition hired a civil firm to counter and it came in lower. Unless Disney is paying Brightline a ton of money, and I mean a ton, why would they sandbag? Between the two groups I know I would not trust the oppositions cost estimates. 

Didn't somebody post that Disney was ditching Magical Express a while back, or their Mears busses from OIA?  If true, they may be banking on BL being their primary form of transport for guests.  

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2 hours ago, jrs2 said:

Didn't somebody post that Disney was ditching Magical Express a while back, or their Mears busses from OIA?  If true, they may be banking on BL being their primary form of transport for guests.  

Yes it ends this year. 
Since Mears was managing DME we can assume they’ll want to recoup that lost cash somehow. How that further complicates things will be interesting to see.

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1 hour ago, codypet said:

Is Mears still providing busses for UCF?  If not, they're going to be pretty much a shell of themselves from the late 90's early 00's

Remember, Mears only owns 10% of the company these days. It was bought out by a South Florida company a few years back.

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