Financial Realities of the
All Aboard Florida/Virgin Trains Project
Virgin Trains shelved its IPO last February. An analyst at Renaissance Capital said, “We were concerned about the demand for that type of transportation in Florida — it’s unclear.” She said, the cost of the expansion projects proposed were “astronomical” and “daunting.” She wasn't wrong - Virgin missed it's 2018 ridership projections by a mile and missed 2019 projections by 50%!
The system is losing money and pushing more capital expansion costs on to the taxpayers. AAF/VT is demanding local taxpayers pay millions of dollars for roadway retrofits at hundreds of grade crossings and increased annual maintenance fees for upgraded crossing equipment. Indian River County has filed a lawsuit challenging the demands.
Now taxpayer grants are going to support a program for increased patrols to catch and fine trespassers; $250 million in tax monies went to the Orlando station. They need $100 million to replace the Loxahatchee Bridge; they advise counties to get grants if they want pedestrian safety features which were required in the Environmental Impact Statement.
Along with lagging ridership, the system lost $117 million in 2018 and in the first 9 months of 2019 has lost over $154 MILLION.
AAF/VT will have massive debt but Grupo Mexico, owner of FECR and the tracks, will have double freight capacity to all deep-water ports in the state. From crossing costs to counties, to federal and state grants, to the indirect taxpayer subsidies of PAB's, we believe...
Taxpayer dollars should not be used for this