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Brightline Station Coming to Orlando

I never want to take an uber or rental car from MCO ever again if this is frequent enough. The price point at $15 one way would only make this useful for only solo trips to universal though. I would never use it over lyft or uber with my discounts for two people. Rental cars get competitive fast if you do more than airport rideshare for two people as well. If they really want volume they need to make the airport to convention center route more like $10.
 
I'm feeling a little scared that the whole Sunshine Corridor proposal could fall apart due to Disney and Universal fighting about direct trains to the airport that don't stop at the other resort making the entire project financially nonviable.
 
I'm feeling a little scared that the whole Sunshine Corridor proposal could fall apart due to Disney and Universal fighting about direct trains to the airport that don't stop at the other resort making the entire project financially nonviable.
With Universal donating land and some cash, I think the route is already set. So looks like it will stop basically at Universal/Convention Center and near enough to Disney. Plus projections show the real $$$ is the Orlando-Tampa stations. (In ironies of ironies, after out Gov cancelled the high speed Tampa/Orlando run, reports came out showing it would have actually run at a profit)
 
I'm feeling a little scared that the whole Sunshine Corridor proposal could fall apart due to Disney and Universal fighting about direct trains to the airport that don't stop at the other resort making the entire project financially nonviable.
They need to put their egos to the side. Universal has to accept that they still don't have enough market share yet to warrant a train that doesn't also stop at WDW and Disney has to accept that they've lost so much market share that they've lost the monopoly on the area that they used to have and are no longer in position to get their own stop on this line (like they were back in 2010-ish when Obama gave the state money to build a HSR).

With Universal donating land and some cash, I think the route is already set. So looks like it will stop basically at Universal/Convention Center and near enough to Disney. Plus projections show the real $$$ is the Orlando-Tampa stations. (In ironies of ironies, after out Gov cancelled the high speed Tampa/Orlando run, reports came out showing it would have actually run at a profit)
I go to Tampa for various things quite a bit and if it saved me time/stress and had a decent location i'd use it a decent amount.
 
Great video from Brayden really going into the weeds on the MCO/OCCC/Disney Phase 3 and how prohibitively expensive it would be to go that way and also how stupid it is that Sunrail is trying to join in on this party. There is a risk of this whole thing falling apart because either Universal or Disney (or both) tank it by making it cost so much that it's not worth Brightline's investment.

Also, if they continue down the glacial path they're on and it takes them a few more years to figure anything out, they may not be eligible for the money from the infrastructure bill at that point. Another good point is that any route that is ultimately decided on, to get the infrastructure funds, the governor has to sign off on those funds which could throw a wrench into things.
 
Great video from Brayden really going into the weeds on the MCO/OCCC/Disney Phase 3 and how prohibitively expensive it would be to go that way and also how stupid it is that Sunrail is trying to join in on this party. There is a risk of this whole thing falling apart because either Universal or Disney (or both) tank it by making it cost so much that it's not worth Brightline's investment.

Also, if they continue down the glacial path they're on and it takes them a few more years to figure anything out, they may not be eligible for the money from the infrastructure bill at that point. Another good point is that any route that is ultimately decided on, to get the infrastructure funds, the governor has to sign off on those funds which could throw a wrench into things.

I suspect they have already missed their chance to get construction funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, if such opportunity ever realistically existed.
 
I suspect they have already missed their chance to get construction funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, if such opportunity ever realistically existed.
Yeah, I honestly think this Orlando line may just not happen if all parties involved are insistent on making this way harder than it needs to be and want to just continue fighting over it for years.

Orlando would greatly benefit from something like this, but the issue always comes down to Disney doesn't want to share a line with Universal period and Universal doesn't really care if this happens either way so they're willing to nuke the project if they have to due to something they don't like about it (and they can do that by running up the costs on the line through the tourism area line so much that Brightline just says no).
 
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2 stations are overkill, but one closer to Disney/Vineland Outlets is a much better solution for everyone. Easy access to the heart of the Orlando tourism area.
 

Virgin company in High Court fight with US train operator​

Lawyers representing Virgin Enterprises told a judge in London that allegations made by Brightline Holdings were ‘cynical and spurious’.


Virgin Enterprises was part of the Virgin Group, founded by businessman Sir Richard Branson, the hearing was told (Steve Parsons/PA)


A Virgin company has begun a High Court fight with an American train operator which pulled out of a deal after alleging that the “Virgin brand” had stopped being a “brand of international high repute”.

Lawyers representing Virgin Enterprises told a judge at a High Court hearing in London that Brightline Holdings’ allegation was “cynical and spurious”.

The deal meant that Brightline would rebrand its rail services in the United States as “Virgin Trains USA”, Judge Mark Pelling heard.

Very soon after concluding the (agreement), it appears that Brightline had second thoughts about the deal it had struck and began looking for a way to extricate itself from it as soon as possible and without paying the contractually agreed exit fee

Virgin Enterprises says Brightline is in breach of a trademark licence agreement and wants around £200 million damages, the judge was told.

Brightline says Virgin Enterprises’ claim should be dismissed.

Judge Pelling has begun overseeing a trial, at the Rolls Building in central London, which is due to last three weeks.

He heard that Virgin Enterprises was part of the Virgin Group, founded by businessman Sir Richard Branson, and managed intellectual property relating to the “Virgin brand”.

Brightline sought to terminate the (agreement) on the basis of a cynical and spurious allegation that the Virgin brand had ceased to be a brand of international high repute.

“This dispute arises out of a trademark licence agreement dated November 15 2018 between (Virgin Enterprises) and (Brightline) pursuant to which Virgin Enterprises agreed to license the Virgin brand to Brightline such that Brightline would rebrand its rail services in the USA as ‘Virgin Trains USA’,” Daniel Toledano KC, Emma Himsworth KC, and Maximilian Schlote told the judge in a written case outline.

“The term of the (agreement) was for an initial 20 years, which was extendable.”

They said a clause in the agreement allowed Brightline to terminate the agreement, after giving written notice, if the Virgin brand had ceased to be a “brand of international high repute” – and told the judge that an “exit fee” had been agreed.

“Very soon after concluding the (agreement), it appears that Brightline had second thoughts about the deal it had struck and began looking for a way to extricate itself from it as soon as possible and without paying the contractually agreed exit fee,” they added.

“At the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 global pandemic, Brightline sought to terminate the (agreement), on the basis of a cynical and spurious allegation that the Virgin brand had ceased to be a brand of international high repute.”

Lawyers representing Brightline told the judge that the claim should be dismissed.

“This is a claim brought by (Virgin Enterprises) against Brightline for very substantial sums – in excess of 250 million US dollars – said to be due as damages for breach of a trademark licence agreement between the parties dated November 15 2018,” they said.

“Brightline terminated the (agreement) on July 29 2020.
“(Virgin Enterprises) claims that this was a renunciatory breach of the (agreement).”

The lawyers said the “liability” issue the judge had to decide was, “simply stated”, was Brightline “entitled to terminate” the agreement.

They added: “The claim should be dismissed.”
Lawyers representing Brightline outlined concerns about Virgin’s train and airline businesses.

They said by the end of 2019, Brightline was becoming “concerned about the reputation of the Virgin brand”.

“In April 2019, Virgin Trains was disqualified from bidding for a renewal of the West Coast mainline train franchise; it operated no trains in the UK after 7 December 2019,” they said.

“Not long after the announcement that Virgin Trains had been disqualified, investors started to express concerns about Brightline’s links with Virgin.”

They said a Virgin Trains UK video, released in November 2019 and called “The Final Whistle”, was not “universally acclaimed”.

One newspaper described the footage as a “Bizarre farewell to Virgin Trains video featuring Richard Branson and Mr Blobby”.

Lawyers said: “Brightline regarded the video as an embarrassment…”

They added: “The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on both Brightline and Virgin.

“In March 2020, Virgin Atlantic attracted widespread criticism with its request to staff to take unpaid leave, followed by its request for a substantial financial support package from the UK Government (or “bailout”).

“There was an ensuing wave of negative publicity.
“This was noted internally by Virgin, which recognised the need to do something.”

They told the judge that the response on social media was summarised in a “social listening report”, prepared for Virgin, which said: “People are angry and frustrated that a billionaire would take taxpayer money to bail out his airline when he has ample money to fund it himself”.

Lawyers representing Virgin Enterprises said Brightline had operated a train line in Florida, between Miami and West Palm Beach.

They said Brightline had explained that it entered into the agreement to “increase brand awareness and to take advantage of cross-selling opportunities”.

“Virgin was hit by a spike in negative press in the UK in the spring of 2020, in particular in relation to Virgin Atlantic’s request for government support,” they said.

“However, the picture was different in other Virgin markets.”
They added: “There was no notable negative press about any Virgin-related stories in the USA.”

Lawyers said, nonetheless, the “challenges” the wider group of Virgin companies and the Virgin brand “was facing at that time in the UK” caused “internal concern and were taken very seriously and were addressed”.
“The press surrounding Virgin Atlantic and, relatedly, Sir Richard, also did not cause the Virgin Masterbrand to cease to be of international high repute,” they said.

“Virgin Atlantic’s request for government support should be seen in the context of the pandemic and in light of the fact US and other airlines received huge government support.”

 
WESH 2 News just had a story about Universal reinforcing their support and help funding the connection from the airport. They got in a dig at Disney over special districts in their presentation. The story also mentioned Universal's working with the sewage plant to abate the odor. I'm sure the story will be on their website later...
 
Mod Note: Since our information has shifted since this thread started, I've updated the title and moved it to a new section of the forums.
 
Decisions should be coming soon:

From the article:
Commissioners learned details of the plan, initially unveiled in January, during an August board meeting when John Sprouls, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Universal Destinations & Experiences, vowed the company would “be part of the solution for mass transit connectivity within the region.”

“Our commitment includes pledging 13 acres of land to the district — at no cost to taxpayers —to be used for a SunRail station at the Convention Center, supporting the operation and maintenance of the station also at no cost to Orange County taxpayers, and providing an estimated $125 million in capital investment through private activity bonds backed by Universal Orlando,” he said. “We are focused on making Central Florida and, in particular, the area around Epic Universe a great place to live work and play.”

During a discussion of Universal’s proposal, Jon Weiss, deputy county administrator, said the cost of the transit station, which includes improvements to Destination Parkway and construction of a pedestrian bridge, was estimated at $93 million, a figure likely to grow as materials and labor costs continue to rise.

Other projects in the petition include a $40-million improvement to the South Water Reclamation Facility, which treats wastewater from 70,000 residential and commercial properties in a 118-square-mile area.

Weiss said the county-owned wastewater plant, located on West Sand Lake Road and adjacent to the Epic Universe site, was built in 1957 but has been substantially rebuilt and expanded five times.

“Orange County Utilities has long been planning to enhance odor control,” he said.

The CDD also would earmark $8 million in improvements for Epic Boulevard, a main entrance.

Commissioner Nicole Wilson said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the plan.

“Under this format, I think we may be able to get some things done that we would not have been able to get done another way,” she said, pointing out private investment usually helps win federal funding grants.
 
They've voted to create the "Special Tax District" to help finance the Sunshine Corridor route from the airport, to the Convention Center/EU, and on to Disney Springs (and eventually to Tampa).

Orange County on Oct. 10 approved the creation of a special taxing district from Universal Orlando Resort that will help fund the proposed Sunshine Corridor for passenger trains to connect to International Drive and Orlando International Airport.

The commissioners on Oct. 10 voted unanimously to allow the creation of the Shingle Creek Transit & Utility Community Development District.
Universal Destinations & Experiences applied to the county for the quasi-public district on 719 acres that primarily includes the site of its upcoming Epic Universe theme park — which is projected to open in 2025 — as well as 13 acres for a proposed train station along Destination Parkway tied to the shared rail corridor for Miami-based intercity passenger train Brightline and local commuter train SunRail.

“Today marks a step forward and we thank the mayor and county commissioners for approving our petition to establish a community development district that can help realize the vision for expanded SunRail connectivity from the airport to the convention center," John Sprouls, Chief Administrative Officer of Universal Destinations & Experiences, said in a prepared statement. "With just a single stop and a new convention center station, we can get 125,000-plus residents to their jobs and millions of visitors to our area’s world-class attractions."
 
Universal is winning so far on the odor control alone, and that’s what happens when you donate precious land for the project and are going to put up money to build and maintain the station.
 
This is not great news as far as the future of Brightline's overall financial health:


While it’s not yet clear exactly how much Virgin will be awarded, this will be potentially massive. For what it’s worth, Brightline’s revenue in all of 2022 was just $32 million (yes, revenue, not profit), so a potential nearly quarter billion dollar settlement would just be… wow.
 
What's the deadline for approval? I4's current masterplan is to build some sort of elevated expressway from Championsgate through Osceola parkway which would take the space dedicated to this.
 
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