FYI Miami: April 11, 2019
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VIRGIN TRAINS BONDS OK’D: The prospect of a direct Miami-to-Orlando rail connection onboard Virgin Trains USA just grew brighter, as the company formerly known as Brightline got an OK April 5 from the Florida Development Finance Corp. (FDFC) to issue $950 million in new private activity bonds to help fund the roughly $2.3 billion expansion between Palm Beach – the northernmost point of the Florida line beginning in downtown Miami – and Orlando in Orange County. “We appreciate the work of the FDFC board and staff,” said Virgin Trains spokesperson Ben Porritt in a prepared statement. “Virgin Trains will be a transformative project that will help Florida stay economically competitive while bringing thousands of jobs and tremendous economic impact to the state. We have seen incredible support for this project and are confident it will bring a necessary public benefit to the millions of Florida residents and visitors.”
CONSTRUCTION STARTS SLOW: The plunge in construction start volume in South Florida increased in February, Dodge Data & Analytics reports, with the value of new work falling 63% from the prior February. That brings the fall for the first two months of the year to 55%. Nonresidential starts fell in value in February by 78%, with residential starts falling 43%. Total new building value for the first two months was $1.23 billion in the region, down from$2.74 billion for the first two months of 2018.
AIR TRAFFIC SOARS: Miami International Airport passenger traffic rose 5.62% in February from levels of February 2018, airport figures show. The airport handled 3.53 million passengers during the month, with 1.85 million of them on domestic flights and 1.68 million international. But the level of international traffic rose slightly faster than domestic, rising 5.89% in the month while domestic rose 5.37%. For the calendar year to date, international passengers increased 6.22% and domestic 5.48%. Meanwhile, cargo tonnage for the year has dipped 1.44% from the first two months of 2018.
FLAGLER AWARD TO RYDER: HistoryMiami Museum on Saturday evening presented its annual Henry Flagler Award for impact on Miami’s history to Ryder System Inc., now a $8.4 billion Fortune 500 commercial fleet management, dedicated transportation and supply chain solutions company that was founded in Miami in 1933 by Jim Ryder. Robert E. Sanchez, Ryder’s chief executive officer, accepted the award before 250 persons at Hialeah Park, which donated the evening to the museum’s third annual Flamingo Ball so that all of the funds raised could go to the museum.