How transportation companies prepare for the future using the infrastructure of the past

Vincent Signorello, President & CEO – Florida East Coast Industries

What advantages does Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) hold when it comes to Florida’s infrastructure development?

Established more than a century ago by American pioneer Henry Flagler, Florida East Coast Industries is the parent company of many leading real estate, transportation and infrastructure businesses. Our primary assets—namely Henry Flagler’s railroad infrastructure and prime land holdings—laid the foundation for our companies. We are continuing to leverage these unparalleled assets to either promote the businesses that have historically been built around them, or to build new businesses that help contribute to our overall goals.

The Florida East Coast Railway has long been an economic catalyst for the state, strategically moving both people and goods. When it comes to Miami’s logistics sector, what are the growth drivers?

Miami’s advantage in logistics is linked to the fact that its industrial complex is highly connected to Latin America. In fact, a significant amount of the warehousing in South Florida is occupied with many products that are ultimately destined for the region, whether that comes in through PortMiami or other South Florida ports. Miami’s unique position as a logistics hub helps companies like ours expand our industrial footprint. To do this, we are making smart investments in both Latin America and the Caribbean, and also leveraging the hub—that is, we are using Miami-based human resources, technology and ownership of assets to benefit the projects that we develop elsewhere.

FECI is also investing greatly in Florida infrastructure, specifically transit-oriented development. What trends do you see in that space?

The next generation of Floridians want to live, work and recreate near transit. We are actively addressing that demand by developing a network, some of which, like Brightline, is transportation infrastructure, and some of which is real estate infrastructure. From these projects, there are number of lessons. For one, we are financing and executing Brightline without any public funds. Because private entities are concerned with the time value of money and because private projects are less subject to bureaucratic processes that bog them down, such projects can be completed in a more timely and cost-effective manner. For another, our transit-oriented developments capitalize on existing assets, namely rail infrastructure, to build a pedestrian-friendly environment and connect residents and commuters with transit options.