Issues of Interest

BRIGHTLINE Brightline Trains unveiled renderings of the station located at the Orlando International Airport. Even though the building was completed five years ago, the station has been sitting empty. The station will have luxury amenities featuring an upscale retail experience and a signature bar called Mary Mary, which will serve hand-crafted cocktails and lite bites.

SUNRAIL Universal Orlando has announced plans that it will build a SunRail train station at the Orange County Convention Center. Universal has committed to giving land for the station and has agreed to cover the station’s estimated $2 million annual operating and maintenance expenses. There is no current timeline as to when a potential expansion of SunRail will occur.

FINANCIAL WELLNESS MONTH Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians to be vigilant about avoiding financial scams. He offers six tips: block unwanted calls and texts; do not give away personal information; take some time to think before making financial decisions; never pay in crypto, gift cards or by wire transfer; ask trusted friends for their input; and report anything that seems suspicious.

HOMETOWN HEROES ASSISTANCE The Florida Hometown Heroes housing assistance program has awarded more than $50 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to Florida’s hometown heroes. The program assists individuals such as law enforcement officers, educators, healthcare professionals, and active military personnel or veterans in purchasing their first home in Florida. In 2022, the Legislature allocated $100 million for the Florida Hometown Heroes housing program.

BEACH RESTORATION Following the devastation to the State’s coastlines from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, $100 million has been awarded to support beach nourishment projects within 16 coast counties. The list of counties may be found here.

HURRICANE IAN RECOVERY EFFORTS The Florida Department of Children and Families was awarded $13.8 million in grant funding to support and expand mental health resources to those areas impacted by Hurricane Ian. The Florida Disaster Fund awarded more than $1 million to school foundations that will help teachers and other school employees with essential items like food, gas and home repairs in the five hardest hit counties. Some of these school foundations previously received $2 million.