Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Discussion relating to the FEC operations, past and present. Includes Brightline. Official web site can be found here: FECRWY.COM.

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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:55 pm

Messrs. Benton, O'Keefe, and Weaver, do we know IF operation of AAF was a condition precedent of the Groupo acquisition of FEC to the same extent as were the May 1, 1971 Amtrak Operating Agreements on successors?, An example; the G,M&O is gone, but that doesn't allow UP to say "you never contracted with us to operate your passenger trains Chicago-St. Louis".
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby bdawe » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:34 pm

I thought I read somewhere that the freight and passenger companies were going to jointly own the railway?
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:21 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Messrs. Benton, O'Keefe, and Weaver, do we know IF operation of AAF was a condition precedent of the Groupo acquisition of FEC to the same extent as were the May 1, 1971 Amtrak Operating Agreements on successors?, An example; the G,M&O is gone, but that doesn't allow UP to say "you never contracted with us to operate your passenger trains Chicago-St. Louis".


I certainly don't know. But my guess is that there is indeed a succession clause. The investment and operation would be worthless without it.

Also worth noting that existing service was not necessarily a condition for a service startup as we once saw with the Montrealer on the Boston & Maine. An even more remote example would be the Downeaster running over Maine Central territory on Pan Am north of Portland. Maine Central shut down their passenger operation 11 years prior to Amtrak. They are still a corporation of record and own the rights of way.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby chaz » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:37 am

Treasure Coast's last legal action against All Aboard Florida is dropped

Ruth Holmes, senior assistant county attorney and the litigator overseeing the county's All Aboard Florida work, said dropping the case represents a victory for Martin County.

The county's goal all along was to force All Aboard Florida to find alternative financing to private-activity bonds.


The full article in the TCPALM newspaper is here:

http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/shaping-our-future/all-aboard-florida/2017/07/10/last-treasure-coast-legal-action-against-all-aboard-florida-dropped/464248001/
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:54 am

gokeefe wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Messrs. Benton, O'Keefe, and Weaver, do we know IF operation of AAF was a condition precedent of the Groupo acquisition of FEC to the same extent as were the May 1, 1971 Amtrak Operating Agreements on successors?, An example; the G,M&O is gone, but that doesn't allow UP to say "you never contracted with us to operate your passenger trains Chicago-St. Louis".


I certainly don't know. But my guess is that there is indeed a succession clause. The investment and operation would be worthless without it.

Also worth noting that existing service was not necessarily a condition for a service startup as we once saw with the Montrealer on the Boston & Maine. An even more remote example would be the Downeaster running over Maine Central territory on Pan Am north of Portland. Maine Central shut down their passenger operation 11 years prior to Amtrak. They are still a corporation of record and own the rights of way.

Think I've said this before on this board but it's worth noting again: Fortress, the owner of FEC Industries, is one of the big boys. They manage over $70 billion. Senior management spent decades at Lehman, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock before going off on their own in the late 1990's. The General Counsel was a partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore before joining them. They have a 30 year track-record of infrastructure investments. This is not a crew that is going to let a major, high-profile investment go south because somebody forgot to read (or draft) the fine print. Their reputation is at stake. And, since FIG is a public company, they're liable to shareholder lawsuits if they did screw up in such an amateurish way.

BrightLine is not guaranteed to be a success. It's actually pretty risky in my book. In creating a high-speed passenger line from scratch using private funds they're doing something nobody has done in this country since the construction of the New York, Westchester & Boston and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee ca. 1915-1925. But it is my belief that if it fails, it will fail on merits-- bad pricing or poor ridership-- not on a technicality like losing access to the ROW because of a merger.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:02 pm

gokeefe wrote:I certainly don't know. But my guess is that there is indeed a succession clause. The investment and operation would be worthless without it.

This is borne out in a piece by Bill Stephens in the June Trains (which I just now got around to reading) in which AnnMarie Mathews, a spokeswoman for Brightline, is quoted as saying "Brightline is a separate company that has dual ownership of the corridor and the right to operate passenger service. We have all shared operations-related agreements in place with the Florida East Coast Railway for us to fully build out and implement our passenger rail system." And bdawe's recollection appears to be correct.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:18 pm

chaz wrote:Treasure Coast's last legal action against All Aboard Florida is dropped

Ruth Holmes, senior assistant county attorney and the litigator overseeing the county's All Aboard Florida work, said dropping the case represents a victory for Martin County.

The county's goal all along was to force All Aboard Florida to find alternative financing to private-activity bonds.

"We got what we wanted?" Gee, one would have thought what they wanted was to stop the service altogether.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby chrsjrcj » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:21 pm

It's really a non-story. A judge already dismissed the lawsuit against AAF, since AAF change their financing plan. That said, should AAF again pursue the tax exempt bonds, a new lawsuit could be filled.

http://malled.blog.palmbeachpost.com/20 ... rightline/

Regardless, everyday brings smaller victories for Brightline. This one from last week:

http://www.news4jax.com/news/water-mana ... ail-permit

Apparently, there is also a similar challenge filed with the South Florida Water Management District.

http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/ ... 464248001/

The big takeaway from that article is the third to last paragraph: "Reingold declined to comment on Martin County's action. Indian River County, he said, has filed no new challenges and has no additional legal action 'planned at this time.'"

Once Brightline is finally connected to Orlando, there should be a large amount of outrage directed toward the politicians that allowed themselves to be lead astray by groups like "CARE" and "Florida Not All Aboard" and waste over $6 million.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby chaz » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:07 pm

Dropping the Lawsuit? I think the Martin County Commissioners don't want to spend anymore money. Calling it a win is just face saving.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:44 pm

Chaz, I think you are on mark; the affected jurisdictions, namely, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties, along with the private opposition groups are placing their bets that the whole initiative will sink under its own weight.

Even though the project would appear qualified to issue Private Activity Bonds, a party such as an investment bank, must be prepared to underwrite the issue. As I understand, such an issue was not expected to be successful.

I guess Miami-WP could run - and I will take a joyride (assuming it's running) when I next come down during February. But really volks, are there any optimists around here who think a MIA-WPB would be any kind of success?

The sale of the FEC Ry has closed; but funny how any PR Puff of how the new owners want to work to get AAF "up and running" seems to be absent. I am as shocked as anyone that Groupo was interested in acquiring a road that will not lend to any operational efficiency with their existing rail properties. I am on record around here that I thought the State, being the greatest party in interest to ensure that JAX remained an open gateway, was going to win out.

Finally, anyone with one of those "paintshop" programs/apps want to "paint" up the quality equipment Siemens built (I know it's good stuff based on my OBB rides) in an Amtrak livery? And while we're at it, a fleet name.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:37 pm

Here is some more evidence that this worth while project is not going to sink.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl ... story.html

Progress might seem slow but progress is progress.

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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby chrsjrcj » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:55 pm

Looks like one of the first steps that Brightline's new CEO took was to once again pursue a RRIF loan. It also appears that a new ridership and revenue study is underway.

https://www.cdfa.net/cdfa/cdfaweb.nsf/0 ... 0Buyer.pdf
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby OrangeGrove » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:10 pm

Do they seriously expect anyone to still believe this will be a Miami to Orlando operation in 2019? So, apparently the only way this private development will now be built is by a loan from the federal government. That's telling.
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:11 pm

We report, you decide if RRIF is a suitable banker for a speculative project having far more downside risk than otherwise:

https://www.transportation.gov/buildame ... vices/rrif

Fair Use:

The RRIF program was established by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and amended by the Safe Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Under this program the FRA Administrator is authorized to provide direct loans and loan guarantees up to $35.0 billion to finance development of railroad infrastructure. Not less than $7.0 billion is reserved for projects benefiting freight railroads other than Class I carriers
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Re: Brightline aka All Aboard Florida Orlando - Miami FL FEC

Postby gokeefe » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:11 pm

If this was the early 70s, I would strongly concur. Wide open highways with no end of cheap gas in sight. Railroads bankrupted and passenger service in ruins.

But Mr. Norman you and I both know that a lot has changed since then (to say the least) ...

The highways are congested, the population in Florida has aged, gas is far more expensive than it once was, and 9/11 has turned airline travel into a security nightmare with absolutely no amenities for the "economy" class traveler.

The clock has run out on the golden age of jet travel which although still very popular of course is now an incredibly burdensome experience.

I think Brightline's risks are much lower than you imply and the career railroad professionals who set it up know it.
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