Shining A Light On Brightline's Deceptive Business Practices
Posted on March 12, 2018
By: Brain Mast, U.S. Congressman District 18
Despite their dishonest claims to the contrary, Brightline has repeatedly pursued public, taxpayer-funded financing. Taxpayers deserve the truth about who is paying for Brightline, and our community deserves answers about why they are refusing to address critical safety and economic concerns.
Despite their claim that Brightline is “not publicly funded at all”, there are at least four instances in which Brightline has sought public financial support:
All Aboard Florida applied for nearly $1.6 billion in publicly-subsidized federal loans in 2013.
Then, in 2014, All Aboard Florida applied for $1.75 billion in tax-exempt federal bonds. A U.S. District Court judge found that the cost to taxpayers would be up to $600 million.
In 2014, the State of Florida allocated $213.5 million in its budget for the construction of a facility at Orlando International Airport. All Aboard Florida would be the sole tenant of this facility.
Last year, Brightline was issued $600 million in tax-free bonds and then secured an additional $1.15 billion in tax-exempt bonds to pay for Phase 2 of the project.
To secure the tax-free bonds, Brightline is continuing their deceptive business practices. Because they fail to qualify for public financing under the statutory definition of high-speed rail, they instead sought and secured the public financing for this expansion by claiming that their passenger rail train is actually a “highway."…