Light rail at airport no guarantee, as Spain's Globalvia yet to deliver key details

Light rail at airport no guarantee, as Spain's Globalvia yet to deliver key details
A docking center for four modes of transportation will be accompanied by a large garage, as Orlando International Airport builds out its south side with a new terminal. (Orlando International Airport)

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) may have made little progress in recent months swapping out an arrangement that could have brought a maglev system to the airport for one promising a light rail system, as Madrid-based Globalvia hasn't stepped up with a firm commitment.

The airport has been unable to get the Spanish firm to provide logistical and other information about how the light rail would work if it went between the future south terminal and the current north terminal, Stan Thornton, chief operating officer of GOAA, told GrowthSpottter on Monday.


"We have to have communication from them before we will sit down," Thornton said. For it's part, Globalvia insists they need a track heading from the now under construction south terminal to the north to make the light rail project feasible, he added.

The airport authority has secured a letter of credit from Globalvia in excess of $1 million, Thornton said. "And Globalvia has said it is willing to spend a billion (dollars) in Central Florida."

Nonetheless, there is uneasiness. "The last thing Central Florida wants is a failed light rail system," Thornton said.

Globalvia spokesman Nacho Colmenero Arenado did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment.

On Oct. 27, he told GrowthSpotter that Globalvia was still committed to invest its equity and raise project financing for the deployment of a light rail transit system for Central Florida.

Globalvia, which designs, builds, maintains and operates transport projects, in late October was sold to three pension fund creditors by investment bank Bankia and Spanish construction firm FCC. Each company had owned half of Globalvia.

The action followed an August announcement by Spanish builder FCC that creditors of its infrastructure unit Globalvia had taken over the company.

The light rail, as envisioned, would likely follow the same 14.9-mile path proposed for the maglev, from Orlando International Airport to the Orange County Convention Center, with a stop at the Florida Mall.

The decision to move to a light rail system was the result of a lack of development and performance progress by the maglev system, and the formal entry of Globalvia as the $400-million project's prospective financier, builder and manager.

Tony Morris, chief executive of American Maglev Technology, declined to comment on any aspect of the change of direction, including whether he received a finder's fee for bringing Globalvia to Orlando airport.

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