The Real Deal Miami

Alcohol exemption for train stations voted down

Senators kill provision that would exempt All Aboard Florida from liquor-store rules

February 07, 2016 02:30PM

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Rendering of Brightline station in Miami

Miami Brightline station rendering

A Florida Senate committee decided against exempting All Aboard Florida and its planned Brightline train stations from state rules barring stores from selling alcoholic beverages between midnight and 7 a.m.

The Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee last week removed a provision from Senate Bill 698 that would have exempted railroad transit stations from the state’s prohibition of beer, wine and liquor sales during the first seven hours of the morning.

Senate Bill 698 is a sweeping overhaul of the state’s regulation of alcoholic beverage sales.

Senator Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, proposed an amended version of the bill without the train-station exemption from the state’s designation of legal hours for alcoholic beverage sales.

“The bill without this amendment would give a competitive advantage to those licenses or those activities allowed at the railroad transit stations, which certainly is not the intent,” Bradley told the committee. “We would intend those railroad transit stations to comply with all local ordinances and other restrictions that anyone else would be required to do.”

Senate Bill 698 would establish a special alcoholic beverage license for railroad transit systems. The special license would not be subject to quota restrictions limiting the number of alcoholic beverage licenses per county. Among its other changes, the bill would streamline the way theme parks and their resorts account for the volume of beer they sell.

Contractors for All Aboard Florida are building passenger train stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando that will connect the company’s Brightline rail service, which is expected start operating in mid-2017. [Palm Beach Post] — Mike Seemuth