Vice Chairwoman Sosa Advances Legislation to bring Passenger Rail Service to PortMiami
Miami-Dade County – On October 29, 2019, County Commissioners unanimously adopted legislation filed by Vice Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa approving a Memorandum of Understanding between Miami-Dade County and Virgin Trains USA (VTUSA) to bring passenger rail service to PortMiami.
Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline Trains) is a Miami based company that operates intercity passenger rail service between West Palm Beach and Miami. VTUSA has built three train stations, five new train sets, and extensive rail infrastructure in South Florida, investing over $1.7 billion to date. Also, VTUSA is constructing a rail link to Orlando International Airport that will transport passengers from Orlando to Miami in approximately three hours, and is planning additional rail connections throughout Florida.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PortMiami and VTUSA is a result of previous legislation, also filed by Vice Chairwoman Sosa, which directed the administration to evaluate the feasibility of expanding passenger rail service to the port. Under the terms of the MOU, all operating costs for the new line, as well as any cost overruns incurred in connection with the construction of the rail facility, are the sole responsibility of VTUSA. Additionally, VTUSA will provide the trains that will serve the line and pay rent to the County for the land it will use for a station that is planned for completion by 2021. It is estimated that the County will receive approximately $49,000,000 in rent and passenger movement fees over the initial 30-year term of the agreement.
“I am so excited to see passenger rail coming to the Cruise Capital of the World,” said Vice Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa. “This will provide cruise passengers an incredible experience and make sailing from PortMiami more convenient than ever before. I commend Director Kuryla, his staff, and the team at Virgin Trains USA for their commitment to come to an agreement that will benefit our great community for many years to come.”