The Palm Beach Post: County tries to stop All Aboard Florida financing process

Posted on April 28, 2015

Indian River County is hoping to block All Aboard Florida’s application for $1.75 billion in tax exempt bonds with a request for a temporary restraining order filed Monday in its federal lawsuit.


The county, along with its emergency services district, sued the U.S. Department of Transportation on March 31 claiming the department’s preliminary approval of the bonds in December was “plainly unlawful” because it occurred before a final environmental report has been completed.


But with the Florida Development Finance Corp. poised next month to vote on whether to act as conduit issuer of All Aboard Florida’s bonds, Indian River County is concerned the bonds could be issued before their case is even adjudicated.


Indian River also filed a motion for summary judgment, saying there are no factual disputes that prevent the court from now deciding the central legal issues in the case.


“Because if the court does not stay the USDOT approval, the bonds may be issued before this case can be adjudicated on its merits,” wrote Indian River County Attorney Dylan Reingold in a message Monday. “The potential sale of $1,750,000,000 of tax-exempt bonds before the court rules on our claims would prejudice the right of Indian River County and the other plaintiffs to seek meaningful relief in the lawsuit.”


The Florida Development Finance Corp., which meets May 28 to discuss the bonds, is the final approval All Aboard Florida needs to issue its $1.75 billion in private activity bonds. The bonds are needed to finish the Miami to Orlando passenger rail project, which is scheduled to open its Miami to West Palm Beach route in late 2016.


The U.S. Department of Transportation says it does not comment on active lawsuits.

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