Author Topic: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa  (Read 108012 times)

marcuscnelson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1430
  • Gen Z - Tired of the status quo
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #375 on: June 10, 2021, 01:36:40 PM »
Lol. That is not how things work in real life in St. Augustine and many other places. St. Augustine's 5 member commission is made up of three historic preservationists as Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and councilmember and a professor of natural sciences at Flagler that is an staunch environmentalist. There are countless developers that would love to build large  or even medium multi-family projects in the city of St. Augustine, but yet there are none. The citizens of St. Augustine will only elect people that have come up through the ranks of their historic preservation boards and groups. These are people that do not need and would not take bribes and they run solely on the platform of protecting the character of St. Augustine.

But that's beside the point. It's extremely difficult to assemble enough land in the core of St. Augustine for anything with a substantial amount of units that is under 6 stories. For comparison, Vista Brooklyn is 308 units and is 10 stories. The monstrosity at River City is only 335 units. The senior housing at Newnan and Ashley is 6 stories with only 120 units (and a low parking count). The Southbank Apartments are only 185 units (is underparked) and is 7 stories.  Brightline will need a bare minimum of 200 units to make it worth their while.

Like I said, the most feasible option is going outside of the city limits and that is near the airport in unincorporated SJC and that isn't going to move the needle for Brightline.

I took some time this afternoon and gave one of St. Augustine's commissioners a call, and had a short discussion about where their thoughts were on transportation and associated development. I got an interesting response in the form of "we're nearly fully developed." But also, that JTA is apparently involved with the proposed Broudy development on King Street, and unless Brightline purchases property elsewhere that's where they expect rail access to be at. I guess it's comforting to see that's still being worked on two years later, but I don't know about the rest.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32798
    • Modern Cities
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #376 on: June 10, 2021, 04:54:24 PM »
Brightline/FEC already have a station site they own behind the Winn-Dixie on US 1 near San Marco Avenue. If and when they come, I don't expect them to defer to JTA on where they will place their station. However, I don't think it will become an issue because I also don't see JTA having a commuter rail line up and running within the next generation or two.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

bl8jaxnative

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #377 on: June 11, 2021, 11:33:41 AM »
All aboard? Plans for passenger rail service between Savannah and Atlanta getting on track
https://amp.savannahnow.com/amp/7138126002

Could high-speed rail running from Atlanta to Savannah connect with Brightline in Jacksonville? If Brightline wasn't so focused on the Tampa and Orlando extensions, I'd expect them to throw their hats in the ring as operators of the Savannah to Atlanta line as an extension of their future MIA to JAX service.

Amtrak's got cash.  They're running around everywhere pushing the idea of these services.  Since their a corp, the money the state legislatures would pay them would count as revenue from Amtrak's point of view.

I haven't seen anything out of Georgia that looks like there's strong support state leg.  Maybe there is but it looks like Amtrak's usual dog and pony show to try to drum up some biz.   

bl8jaxnative

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #378 on: June 23, 2021, 10:38:27 AM »

Brightline just announced they're not going to be doing their Brightline West -connecting with Las Vegas with nowheresville in the Cali high desert - anytime soon.

So far not much has been said about it.  It could be that they found a big private investor and don't need to the public bonds.  More likely though is that yet again they were looking to see bonds on the market and not enough investors were interested.

Not sure what this means for a Tampa extension.  Orlando - Tampa should require less $$$ up front.  Although wiggling through the rest of Orlando from MCO is going to be pretty expensive but it'll at least have the perceived advantage of adding a direct Disney stop.

Maybe this really means nothing for the Tampa extension.  If it's cuz the capital markets don't like the business plan and aren't buying the bonds, that's probably not good for Tampa, either.   

Either way, IMHO, if one wants a smell at how badly these operations are bleeding money, note that Brightline still hasn't started back up.  And they have NOT made any __FIRM__ commitments as to when they're going to do that.  IMHO they're bending over backwards to conserve what cash they have in hopes of finishing up that Orlando extension.    If that WPB - FLL - MIA run was generating cash, they'd be a lot more anxious to get it started up and rolling.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32798
    • Modern Cities
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #379 on: June 23, 2021, 01:04:20 PM »
I thought it was accepted that they would reopen when the Orlando segment is complete. It doesn't make sense to run an incomplete project during a pandemic that still has millions not vacationing in Florida and thousands of South Floridians still working from home.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

bl8jaxnative

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #380 on: June 23, 2021, 04:52:13 PM »

Well, it made sense for them to run the incomplete project before.  The incomplete part didn't matter before.

And everything else is open and running, not only buses and airline flights but also Amtrak.   


So ya, it could be the pandemic.  But it's funny how for nothing else the pandemic is stopping it from running.  I mean, if Amtrak's safely operating why not Brightline?

I'm a lil curious if they didn't more or less lay off all the employees they had for operations and now need to rebuild from scratch.

marcuscnelson

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1430
  • Gen Z - Tired of the status quo
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #381 on: June 23, 2021, 05:03:54 PM »
Aren't they also still in the process of signal testing from the switchover to PTC they did during the pandemic? Is that complete yet?

So far, if I remember correctly, Brightline's stated target for reopening MIA-WPB has been end of this year. They certainly haven't missed that yet.

And in terms of Amtrak, they're technically still in the process of reopening. They only started running their longer-distance trains daily in the last few weeks once the American Rescue Plan funding came in. They're just starting now to bring traditional dining back to those trains.

Meanwhile, airlines are in a hiring crisis because they won't pay their workers enough, and buses are largely simple enough that many of them never actually suspended service entirely, although I think it was only a few weeks ago that JTA announced they were getting ready to lift their capacity limits.

It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility for Brightline to see how the transportation industry is weathering the storm and deciding that there's not a serious business case for restarting hobbled service now when they can wait a few more months, get things they needed to do anyway checked off (PTC) and reopen fully later in the year.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

CityLife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2014
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #382 on: June 23, 2021, 05:55:47 PM »
So far, if I remember correctly, Brightline's stated target for reopening MIA-WPB has been end of this year. They certainly haven't missed that yet.

Yeah, it makes more sense for Brightline to be open during "season" (Late Fall to Spring) when they make far more revenue than to rush to open during summer.  Also, as you said, there is a huge service employee shortage and business travel (a big share of Brightline's users) is still not back to normal.

As to the money issues BL8 speculated about, they've actively been finishing up a lot of their railroad crossings north of WPB, so all indications are that things are still moving along fine.


thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32798
    • Modern Cities
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #383 on: June 23, 2021, 06:21:02 PM »
This was a comment in another forum about Brightline's delay to 2022 on the Las Vegas project:

Quote
Brightline is stalling for time because they have a good shot of getting billions from the Federal infrastructure bill.

When Trump was president they had to go it alone and were prepared to do so (those state bonds are a loan that needs to be paid back, after all). Now there's a chance Uncle Sam might kick in a few billion in free money, so why not wait?

https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=198371&page=89


Quote
Las Vegas-LA high-speed rail plan delayed until 2022

The company behind a planned high-speed rail line from Las Vegas to Victorville, California, is putting on the brakes until at least 2022.

Brightline West said Monday that it will wait until next year to request private activity bonds from Nevada and California that are essential for funding the project.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/tourism/las-vegas-la-high-speed-rail-plan-delayed-until-2022-2383729/
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

icarus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #384 on: June 23, 2021, 08:05:37 PM »
There construction of the Orlando line has not slowed down at all during the pandemic.  The company has already started hiring back employees  to resume rail service by the end of the year.

The company has also been in dicussions about offering more frequent service (hourly) in the completed section.

I doubt moving ahead with the Las Vegas line made mch sense during the pandemic and ceertainly a lot could be said for taking a wait and see approach on that project.

bl8jaxnative

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #385 on: June 24, 2021, 09:23:50 AM »

I doubt moving ahead with the Las Vegas line made mch sense during the pandemic and ceertainly a lot could be said for taking a wait and see approach on that project.

And yet they moved ahead with the Brightline West project.  Just a month or so ago they put out press releases claiming the project was starting in 2021.

Then, IMHO, the risk tolerance of investors - or lack of it for something like this - nipped that in the bud.

Pottsburg

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 155
  • Always Carry Always Conceal
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #386 on: June 24, 2021, 03:15:12 PM »
Brightline will start back November 1st. They are still testing the signal system, also they are hiring back their conductors and engineers and having to get them qualified again. .
Forza Napoli!  EPL has nothing on the Serie A

icarus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 395
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #387 on: July 06, 2021, 02:47:58 PM »
For the doubters out there, Brightline just closed on a 110 acre parcel for the Las Vegas station.  They're not stopping.

bl8jaxnative

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 906
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #388 on: July 07, 2021, 03:20:44 PM »

Good for them.   The lot they bought is zoned for resorts & casinos.  It'll be interesting to see what exactly is allowed for that.  The general thought is the zoning a proxy for reserving land for big resort projects.  If that's the case, I'd expect that BRightline West is going to need a casino partner to build there.

Pottsburg

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 155
  • Always Carry Always Conceal
Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #389 on: July 12, 2021, 08:39:09 AM »
For the doubters out there, Brightline just closed on a 110 acre parcel for the Las Vegas station.  They're not stopping.
   Let’s get Orlando finished and Tampa started before taking on the west coast. Remember they are also in the Real estate business. The problem with California is there is a lot of smaller airports that run quick flights to Vegas, also everyone is lawsuit crazy, just like those shovel ready jobs during Obama’s stimulus package. How many high speed trains are there in Cali? I am a major doubter on the west coast project. The costs are much high as well. Especially if they get government money and they make it a prevailing wage job.
Forza Napoli!  EPL has nothing on the Serie A