The All Aboard Florida passenger train appears to be a ruse by Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) to wangle taxpayer funding of upgrades to their rail corridor so FECI will be able to more efficiently and profitably accommodate the increased freight traffic they expect to garner from the Panama canal enlargement.

All Aboard Florida seems to have no plan. No details have been provided on where they will get the passengers they need to fill 32 daily 400-passenger trains, what the operating costs will be, or what they will have to charge for a train ticket to be profitable. At the meeting on April 17th we were told All Aboard Florida has not even selected the train they will buy.

But what All Aboard Florida does clearly know is the necessity to borrow $2.5B from the taxpayers. With that money they will be able to add one or two parallel tracks to accommodate all the fast-moving passenger trains and slower-moving freight trains simultaneously moving North and South, upgrade crossings to make it unnecessary to constantly blow the horns, make the corridor secure to minimize trespassing, and improve the bridges over the waterways they transit.

A most likely scenario (if it even goes that far): The passenger service will quickly go belly-up for lack of riders, the loans will not be repaid and the taxpayers will be stuck holding the $2.5B bag. But the increased freight service will be even more profitable for FECI with a modern upgraded rail corridor paid for by the taxpayers.

Are the politicians and taxpayers really so stupid as to allow that to happen?


  1. Laura Henning says:

    Thank you, Ed, for your interesting analysis which is entirely suitably cynical for these times! Just two minor quibbles.Toward the tail end of the meeting when most of the people had left, a lady asked the cowardly AAF representative if train sets had been ordered. He whispered yes and said they should be delivered in 24 months. That makes one think this whole thing is a done deal and the public meeting was basically window dressing.

    In addition there will no such thing as a “quiet zone” at the major street crossings. While the trains will not have to sound their horn, the upgraded crossing gates will be equipped with loud sounding devices.

    By the way I call the AAF representative cowardly because he would not sit up on the stage and answer questions. If AAF is so great, he should have been up there defending it!!

  2. Bright Light says:

    All Aboard Florida is socializing costs and privatizing profits.

    The huge terminal in the Orlando Airport says this is more than freight but who cares what the subsidies go towards- they are theft nonetheless.

    Seven50 will position passenger rail and freight rail to benefit from huge subsidies over the next 50 years as the planners push rail transit and limit auto transit.


  3. John says:

    This article disects the AAF scheme and exposes the reality of this business plan, except that it omits to mention the executive bonuses that will be generated from the “loan”. As to whether the politicians and taxpayers are really stupid…? Taxpayers have little choice in the matter and the politicians not at all stupid – they know exactly what they are doing….taking the taxpayers money, plain and simple.

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