I doubt that this will be any sort of issue, though I suspect that the cost for the ranch land will be rather pricey. A couple of interesting tidbits from the article:
A stop for Cocoa also would be opposed by the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, one of the four property owners in talks with All Aboard Florida. The others are the state, the airport and the Mormon Church.I'm actually somewhat surprised that it would be seen as a major competitor to the BeachLine Expressway. It's only about forty miles and with a somewhat inconvenient origin at the airport, I wouldn't expect to see much ridership between Cocoa Beach and Orlando.
The expressway authority owns much of the BeachLine Expressway, where the right of way is the most logical place for the train to lay tracks. The state also owns parts of the road.
A depot in Cocoa could end up costing the expressway money because it could siphon toll-paying motorists off the road and onto the train, said agency director Max Crumit. That likely would be a deal breaker between the authority and the train, he said.
"It would be a huge competitor," Crumit said.
More interesting is the airport station infrastructure.
Discussions with the airport have been going slower than anticipated. Both sides originally set out to reach an agreement within 60 days. That had to be extended another two months at an OIA board meeting two weeks ago.All Aboard Florida might not be taking direct subsidies from the government, but that's a quarter billion dollars in investment by a public agency simply for connections, not counting the additional costs that Orlando Airport might bear the burden of for the parking and station itself. Such connectivity costs are probably a major reason why we don't see private investment in passenger rail, with this notable exception, since they greatly increase the cost of low and higher speed rail systems and diminish the value of using existing infrastructure.
Airport director Phil Brown blamed "lots of complicated issues, but nothing in particular" for the deal not coming together. Rinaldi said there was "no particular holdup — just a reflection of time needed."
OIA is being asked to help pay for a garage and depot for the train that would cost more than $210 million. About 80 percent of that would be for a 3,500-space garage. But who pays for what part of that bill has not been determined.
The airport also would be responsible for building a mile-long elevated monorail to serve the station at a cost of $181.4 million. Roads and other infrastructure costs of about $78 million would fall to OIA, too.
The monorail connection to the airport has one obvious benefit in that it would allow for an extremely simple codeshare agreement between national carriers and All Aboard Florida. Given the consolidation and cutback trend in the American airline industry, I think it fairly likely that, with higher speed rail connecting Florida, Orlando will become the hub airport and siphon a good deal of traffic away from the others. There is, however, the potential downside of having security theater thanks to the connection; hopefully the AAF leadership will avoid it entirely.