Telecommunications giant Sprint has filed suit against All Aboard Florida and another entity for failing to pay $646,266.40 it says it is owed for relocating fiber optic cable lines near the Florida East Coast Railway tracks, where All Aboard plans to launch its Brightline passenger trains service later this year.
The suit, filed on Friday in federal court in Miami, alleges that All Aboard asked Sprint to relocate the lines in preparation of its launch of Brightline — a passenger rail service that will shuttle people between Miami and West Palm Beach on the FEC tracks — but failed to reimburse the telecommunications company for much of the work.
Court records show that All Aboard Florida has not formally responded to the lawsuit. An All Aboard spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
Sprint has operated and maintained a fiber optic communications system in the right-of-way along the FEC tracks for more than three decades, according to the suit. As a result of the Brightline project, Sprint says it was asked to relocate a portion of the system between Miami and West Palm Beach.
Sprint claims in the lawsuit that All Aboard and FDG Flagler Station II, an entity tied to All Aboard’s parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, are jointly responsible for paying the relocation costs.
Sprint says it sent the companies a bill for $882,767.24 on Sept. 6. A partial payment of $236,500.84 was made in November, but a balance of $646,266.40 remains.
In addition to paying the remaining balance, Sprint has asked the judge to block the companies from doing any work related to the Brightline project if it falls within 10 feet of the fiber optic line. Sprint argues in the lawsuit that the relocation agreement it reached with the companies in 2015 allows the telecommunications company to ask that work on the project be halted if bills aren’t paid.
Brightline is expected to begin service between West Palm Beach and Miami late this summer. A grand opening is expected to be held in the fall. Ticket prices have not been announced.
Eventually, the company plans to extend service north to Orlando.
Construction on the West Palm Beach-to-Orlando leg has not begun. Brightline officials have said the project will take at least two years from the time work starts.
In preparation for its late summer launch, Brightline has used its social media channels to try to woo commuters — saying the fast-moving trains will carry travelers between West Palm Beach and Miami in about an hour.
This month, Florida East Coast Industries unveiled that residential towers rising next to Brightline’s stations in downtown West Palm Beach and Miami will be part of a new real estate brand called Park-Line.
Meanwhile, Brightline also has been working to promote train safety. Last month, Brightline officials held a train safety workshop for police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers from Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Brightline in April launched a safety campaign designed to warn students and those living near the Florida East Coast Railway corridor about the dangers of walking along train tracks.