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  #101  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2012, 6:12 PM
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Let's stay on topic please.
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  #102  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonboy1983 View Post
Wow...

I really hope this all works out in the end. If it does, then it should serve as a model of how private-funded HSR projects could work in the US.

On a side note. I thought the new intermodal facility being built at MIA was to have high-speed rail access in addition to the metrolink and bus facilities. Am I wrong?
The Intermodal Center in Miami was planned with HSR in mind & they have room for it. However the rejection of Fed funds by Governor Scott has ended that idea. The rest of the trasportation systems you mentioned are still intact.
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  #103  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2012, 12:13 PM
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This is actually setting an interesting precedent...
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  #104  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2012, 2:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bobdreamz View Post
The Intermodal Center in Miami was planned with HSR in mind & they have room for it. However the rejection of Fed funds by Governor Scott has ended that idea. The rest of the trasportation systems you mentioned are still intact.
I would say that the actions of Gov. Scott has put the plans for a Tampa to Orlando to Miami true HSR route on indefinite hold, but those plans are not completely dead. The FEC is sort of taking over those plans and may well extend their tracks from Orlando Airport to Tampa on the ROW that was to be used for the HSR line.

The new tracks across Florida from Cocoa to Orlando Airport and then to Tampa should upgradeable to higher speed electrified HSR, say 160 or 180 mph speeds, because they will be mostly straight with either no or very few grade crossings. However, the FEC tracks from Cocoa to Miami have numerous grade crossings.

I did a Google search and found a 2007 document from the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority when they were looking at using the FEC tracks for a commuter train service. The FAQ states that there were approximately 200 grade crossings between downtown Miami and West Palm Beach. There is not a breakdown of how many of these are public road crossings versus private grade crossings, but regardless, that is a lot of grade crossings.

If the FEC service is successful and proves to the skeptics in FL that people will indeed take trains between Miami and Orlando, then there may be widespread interest in true HSR service between Miami and Orlando. The FEC with the numerous grade crossings would be very expensive and likely problematic to upgrade to electrified HSR. At that time, there could be a resurrection of the plans Miami to Orlando HSR service over a different and grade crossing free route, which may still go to or through the Miami Intermodal Station.

This is long term speculation on my part however. First, the FEC has to get through the many hoops, secure the funding, double track the current tracks & build the new 40 mile line, buy the trainsets, start revenue service, and then get enough ridership to make a successful go of it.
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  #105  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2012, 10:26 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, forget HSR. I'm hoping it will be successful enough that they extend service to Tampa and Jacksonville. With rail, this state needs to learn how to crawl before running.
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  #106  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2012, 4:35 AM
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i cant wait , I'll stand in line to ride it.
lots of people will.
walking distance to the miami arena & metro rail.
ft lauderdale is building the WAVE streetcar
lots of people will ride this.

fec rail has been siting on this property for years waiting for this.
but the GOV of florida is going to have a press confrence
and say only private companies know how to do this
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  #107  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2012, 11:40 AM
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Dan Tracy of the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that FEC's private passenger rail project now has a few obstacles to overcome:



1. City of Cocoa wants a station but is continuing to be rebuffed by FECI.

2. The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority (OOCEA) doesn't want a Cocoa station because it fears less people will drive on their toll road if the train were an option. FEC wants OOCEA's right-of-way for free to get to Orlando, so I assume Cocoa loses, although they have a valid point with Port Canaveral being there.

3. Negotiations with Orlando International Airport are moving slower than originally envisioned.

Quote:
OIA is being asked to help pay for a garage and depot for the train that would cost more than $210 million. About 80 percent of that would be for a 3,500-space garage. But who pays for what part of that bill has not been determined.

The airport also would be responsible for building a mile-long elevated monorail to serve the station at a cost of $181.4 million. Roads and other infrastructure costs of about $78 million would fall to OIA, too.
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/...tional-airport
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  #108  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2012, 1:20 PM
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So this is essentially Florida's "Acela Express?"
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  #109  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2012, 4:08 AM
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I wouldn't describe it as such.
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  #110  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2012, 6:46 AM
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Woohoo, privately-funded rail! Subsidized by the public, or at least by air travelers, to the tune of at least $400 million!

Quote:
OIA is being asked to help pay for a garage and depot for the train that would cost more than $210 million. About 80 percent of that would be for a 3,500-space garage. But who pays for what part of that bill has not been determined.

The airport also would be responsible for building a mile-long elevated monorail to serve the station at a cost of $181.4 million. Roads and other infrastructure costs of about $78 million would fall to OIA, too.
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  #111  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2012, 7:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Woohoo, privately-funded rail! Subsidized by the public, or at least by air travelers, to the tune of at least $400 million!
Are you surprised? CSX , NS & UP milk billions out of the state and large cities for things they can afford...
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  #112  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2012, 12:17 PM
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On the one hand I would love to see an upgrade to rail in any part of the country.

However, as has already been revealed this will not be "100% private" by a long stretch. They should be held to the same standard as Amtrak and be responsible for their proportional share of capital expenses for the rail infrastructure. Let's see how well they do then.
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  #113  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Woohoo, privately-funded rail! Subsidized by the public, or at least by air travelers, to the tune of at least $400 million!
I wouldn't call it a subsidy. Actually, that's all a part of the airport's master plan and would have been built if Scott didn't kill HSR. It seems FECI is asking for them to move forward with their own plan. Outside of that, they're being held to a higher standard than Amtrak. On the rail infrastructure side, it's their money on the line.
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  #114  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 3:13 AM
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The question is ....

This is how we get to be half as good
as spain or japan or england or germany

This is the plan to be half as good?
After the 2012 elections we need a better plan.

Its a good start though , lots of people will ride this
miami to orlando with stops in lauderdale and palm beach
this should have been done 10-20 years ago

Last edited by eleven=11; Sep 3, 2012 at 3:16 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #115  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 4:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Lakelander View Post
I wouldn't call it a subsidy. Actually, that's all a part of the airport's master plan and would have been built if Scott didn't kill HSR. It seems FECI is asking for them to move forward with their own plan. Outside of that, they're being held to a higher standard than Amtrak. On the rail infrastructure side, it's their money on the line.
Where is the money coming from? Does OIA use money from Florida taxpayers, or do they get money from ticket fees? Given the huge tourism numbers at OIA, I would guess the latter. Still, FECI wants to take money from the public - a subset of it - to pay for the expenses of their private business. That's the definition of a subsidy.

I'm also not clear on exactly what the plans call for. The Florida HSR proposal called for the rail line to go directly into the airport with a station at the terminals. Is FECI proposing the same thing? Or do they plan to terminate the service at 528/Semoran, with a people-mover connection into the airport? (For the record, I favor this plan, as it makes a downtown Orlando connection much easier in the future.)
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  #116  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 5:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Where is the money coming from? Does OIA use money from Florida taxpayers, or do they get money from ticket fees? Given the huge tourism numbers at OIA, I would guess the latter. Still, FECI wants to take money from the public - a subset of it - to pay for the expenses of their private business. That's the definition of a subsidy.

I'm also not clear on exactly what the plans call for. The Florida HSR proposal called for the rail line to go directly into the airport with a station at the terminals. Is FECI proposing the same thing? Or do they plan to terminate the service at 528/Semoran, with a people-mover connection into the airport? (For the record, I favor this plan, as it makes a downtown Orlando connection much easier in the future.)
Generally Passenger Facility Charge revenues which are assessed on airline tickets cannot be used for intermodal ground access stations at airports unless the station being financed is exclusively for airport passengers and employees.

"Also, the agency has made clear that when an on-airport project would have both airport and general use, PFC funding (again, relying on AIP eligibility) could not be used for any portion of the project, because the project was not for exclusive airport use. (March 1995 ARP-1 letter to SFO on preliminary SFO BART station design.)"

http://www.faa.gov/airports/resource..._practices.pdf
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  #117  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 5:53 AM
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Interesting points about OIA subsidies, but........
Wouldn't the parking garages on OIA property be paid for by parking fees, not airline ticket fees? Ie, the subsidy being requested is for the parking garages, which can be used by the airport for both trains and planes - assuming there is a way provided to get people parking in the garage near the train platforms to the airport terminal, and vice versa, a way provided to get people parking near the airport terminal to the train platforms. A monorail line is just one way amongst many that could be used to connect the parking garages and train station and airport terminals together.
It's not unusual for almost all infrastructure located on airport property to be built, financed, and owned by the airport authority. As is, FEC is willing to build, finance, and own the railroad infrastructure.
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  #118  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Where is the money coming from? Does OIA use money from Florida taxpayers, or do they get money from ticket fees? Given the huge tourism numbers at OIA, I would guess the latter. Still, FECI wants to take money from the public - a subset of it - to pay for the expenses of their private business. That's the definition of a subsidy.
Is it a subsidy if FECI desires to be the rail component of OIA's proposed intermodal center and South Terminal? Why should FECI fund the airport's infrastructure as well? From my understanding, it appears FECI is simply trying to tap into what had already been proposed by the airport. See the OIA graphics below. I scanned these a couple of years ago when they were talking about building this for the HSR project and Sunrail.

Quote:
I'm also not clear on exactly what the plans call for. The Florida HSR proposal called for the rail line to go directly into the airport with a station at the terminals. Is FECI proposing the same thing? Or do they plan to terminate the service at 528/Semoran, with a people-mover connection into the airport? (For the record, I favor this plan, as it makes a downtown Orlando connection much easier in the future.)
OIA has long talked about building a south terminal about a mile south of the existing one that would serve as the airport's intermodal center.



FECI appears to be asking OIA to move forward with some of their intermodal plans since the Sunrail commuter rail project and FECI are moving forward as scheduled. Btw, there's a rail line for coal unit trains the runs south of the airport and crosses SR 528, just west of the Greeneway/417, before terminating at an OUC power plant. I expect, FECI will branch off SR 528 and onto this line to access the southside of the airport. I know we focus on passenger rail, but this area sets up well for FEC to provide freight service, not only to that coal plant (CSX doesn't own this line) but to proposed industrial areas surrounding it.


Proposed South Terminal


Section of South Terminal and parking garage


Cross section of initial phase.

Looking at this initial phase cross section, FECI replaces HSR, Sunrail remains the same and the airport's people mover remains the same. The only mode missing is LRT, which there never was a serious proposal for.
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  #119  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2012, 1:46 PM
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Proposed SFECC commuter rail with All Aboard Florida (yellow circles) and existing Tri-Rail:



http://www.sfeccstudy.com
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  #120  
Old Posted Sep 4, 2012, 5:58 AM
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I don't understand how previous plans make this less of a subsidy. Most of that would have been paid for by the feds. Its not like OIA was looking to expand without HSR but under the FEC's plans OIA will have to bear the financial burden with no guarantee that they will see a return. More to the point, OIA does not know if FEC will be profitable but is being asked to take on a large amount of the risk. Basically FEC is asking OIA to pay for something that marginally benefits the airport but that is essential to FEC's plans. Its good business for FEC, have others pay for your project and minimize risk but it definitely is a subsidy because
Quote:
FECI wants to take money from the public - a subset of it - to pay for the expenses of their private business. That's the definition of a subsidy.
There is no way around it. Now the question is whether the subsidy is net beneficial for OIA.

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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
Interesting points about OIA subsidies, but........
Wouldn't the parking garages on OIA property be paid for by parking fees, not airline ticket fees? Ie, the subsidy being requested is for the parking garages, which can be used by the airport for both trains and planes - assuming there is a way provided to get people parking in the garage near the train platforms to the airport terminal, and vice versa, a way provided to get people parking near the airport terminal to the train platforms. A monorail line is just one way amongst many that could be used to connect the parking garages and train station and airport terminals together.
It's not unusual for almost all infrastructure located on airport property to be built, financed, and owned by the airport authority. As is, FEC is willing to build, finance, and own the railroad infrastructure.
Why should OIA pay almost $400 million to build a parking garage/depot that will directly compete with their current parking garages and directly benefit a business that will directly compete with the airlines that pay OIA landing fees. Building a parking garage that is no where near the terminal does not make much sense on its own. Do they need more parking space? Does it make sense to build a garage a mile away from the terminal instead of a more centrally located position? It will only make sense if the parking fees are greater than the construction bonds, plus any loss in landing fees/current parking fees, plus any operating expense of moving passengers from the new garage to the terminal. In the end, they might come to a deal that is beneficial to both parties but it seems that they are farther apart then what FEC wanted to be. Also, in the end it is still a subsidy. It does not matter if it is mutually beneficial. If FEC wants to use OIA's borrowing power and wants them to pay for their parking, then that is a subsidy.

And the same goes for OOCEA. Why give free land to a company that is going to directly compete with you. The first priority should be to the bond holders and if FEC undercuts the tollway, then that would put the authority's financial position at risk. The 2011 annual report lists OOCEA's revenue bonds at $2.7 billion dollars. What effect will giving free land have on the bottom line? Will the new right of way be on the State's tax rolls? Basically, FEC wants as much as it can get from the people of the State of Florida without reverting to a direct infusion of money or loan guarantees. Now the question becomes whether or not the people of Florida think it is in their best interest to go along with the plan.

I have no problem with private rail plans but it seems that private players rarely gauge the complexity of projects and the time necessary to actually implement large scale passenger works. I have always thought that this was too large of a project for FEC/Fortress, they simply are not big enough to commit $1 billion dollars buying and building an HSR line. However, as time goes on, their plan becomes clearer and relies on others to fill in the gaps. If they can get this project complete it will be an amazing business deal. If they get it done in the time frame they set forth, it will be a miracle.
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