• Brightline Orlando (MCO) and Disney Extension - PHASE 2

  • This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
    Websites: Current Brightline
    Virgin USA
    Virgin UK
This is a forum for all operations, both current and planned, of Brightline, formerly All Aboard Florida and Virgin Trains USA:
Websites: Current Brightline
Virgin USA
Virgin UK

Moderator: CRail

  • 96 posts
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  by electricron
 
BandA wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:23 pm Taking people's property by eminent domain for the benefit of a private company, and providing them with preferential zoning, that is illegal and unethical and just wrong.
That is your opinion but realize not everyone agrees with it.
US Constitution Amendment V
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Note the key clause I so kindly underlined and the key words I also so kindly bolded; public use.
While the US Constitution does not go as far to define what public use is, there are Federal and State laws that do. A private company in many instances can use eminent domain procedures to buy private property.
Legally and ethically.
  by kitchin
 
Eminent domain discussions need to include how compensation is determined. It's by local courts, and there have been many infamous cases in history. These days we can hope for better. The folks in Manhattan Beach, California, are getting their $17m property back 97 years after it was taken at a cut rate, and with some finagling about the public use. "The Bruces requested $70,000 for their property, but the city ultimately paid them just $14,500." https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bruces-bea ... 021-05-04/

The land for Shenandoah National Park was taken by consolidating all cases in each county. Many residents had bad titles, or were tenants. Originally the park would have been three times as large, but before it ever came to the stage of taking land, the borders were reduced in a saw-tooth pattern along ridge tops to avoid more expensive valley land. At the time, it ran in the newspapers as a scandal, kicking small farmers off their land, making grandpa watch barefoot in his overalls as they burned his house down so he couldn't return. Probably got more attention than Manhattan beach due to race. Then it was forgotten for many decades.
  by miamicanes
 
I'd argue rather forcefully that a government action that enabled Brightline to put another Orlando station in a place where it will be IMMENSELY more useful -- to Orlando residents, visitors, and everyone else -- unquestionably qualifies as a "public purpose", even if it's a somewhat roundabout way of doing it.

The fact is, threading mostly-elevated tracks through a built-up area WILL cost a lot more than building them mostly at-grade alongside 417, and someone will have to pay for it. If Orlando and/or Orange County can create enough new land value by eminent domain and upzoning to make it happen, it's an epic win for almost everyone.

Plus, if you've ever looked at the area surrounding the convention center, there are no small businesses or individual homeowners there to morally taint the deal by being harmed. Every square inch of land within a few thousand feet of OCCC is either owned by a government authority, or is owned by a large corporation that only cares about it as an investment. Its shareholders might be pissed about losing what would have otherwise been a winning lottery ticket after the station opened, but winning a metaphorical lottery isn't a moral right. If Orange County/Orlando bought them out at fair no-Brightline market value, they'll have made exactly as much return on their investment as they expected when they made it in the first place.

In any case, OCCC's parking lots are HUGE. Chances are, Orlando/Orange County could probably create more than enough new surplus value just by offering Brightline air rights rezoned to allow tall skyscrapers above the parking lots. In that case, literally NOBODY would lose ANYTHING. 40,000 ground-level parking spaces are 40,000 ground-level parking spaces REGARDLESS of whether or not there's an 80+ story building with a huge parking garage of its own perched above them. In fact, it would actually make those surface lots even BETTER, by effectively putting a roof over them so people heading to the convention center wouldn't get soaked walking from their car to the entrance during a rainstorm.

Of course, it would probably make more sense to just structure the deal in a way that gave Brightline the right to either build above the lots, or simply replace the spaces with one or more new garages dedicated to the convention center, and use the remaining former parking lot land for Brightline's own new developments.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here's a Palm Beach Post article from this past August that I have not seen referenced at the discussion.

It confirms the "late '22" opening date West Palm-MCO. I think all here know that translates to mid-'23 - at best!!!

Now most interesting to me is the "nostalgic" slide show within the article showing Brightline as it's "pre-COVID Disneyland ride". I've had six of such, and all were enjoyable. Will it ever prove any kind of economic success, who knows. Really, the Disneyland experience never proved even to be a commercial success as they never once "made numbers".

But "we're too far in" to turn back now. Even if Brightline proves unsustainable to the private sector, the State will step in. In the meantime, the well connected holders of the "private placement" bonds are laughing to the bank with their 8% (Federal) TAX FREE interest (and State if they reside in Florida - which I suspect most do), and the implicit likelihood the State will bail them out for the principal if and when necessary.
  by kitchin
 
"Private Activity Bonds" they're called.

I was excited to see the first train on the new Cocoa - Orlando corridor, but it turned out it was only a freight going 2000 feet. Amazingly, it was load of steel rails, each the length of the train, and they made a 90 degree curve. Not being a true railfan, I'd never seen that before. https://twitter.com/RoamingRailfan/stat ... 3672929285
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Thank you, Mr. Kitchin

I should add that Private Activity Bonds are not formally guaranteed by any party's "full faith and credit" (nice words for the power to tax, lest we note).

I simply hold that should Brightline fail to be an economic success (and since I've been wrong about everything on such, I make no predictions) the State will assume operation of such. The debt holders will receive some.kind of bailout. This was.a private placement amongst the well connected.
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