Brightline’s financing challenged in congressional hearing

Posted on April 23, 2018

By: Scott Powers, Florida Politics

Brightline’s use of federal tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds, to build the privately owned and operated higher-speed passenger railroad that would connect Orlando to South Florida, was sharply criticized Thursday during a congressional hearing.

Brightline, also known as All Aboard Florida, is planning to use $1.5 billion worth of the federally authorized bonds to pay for construction costs on the South Florida phase already in partial operation and the next phase, which would run private passenger trains from South Florida through the Treasure and Space Coast counties to Orlando.

But at a hearing Thursday before the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, Brightline President Patrick Goddard and U.S. Department of Transportation official Grover Burthey were hotly grilled about how the railroad project qualified for the tax-exempt bonds. And committee members, particularly Chairman U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, made it clear they believed the deal should never have been approved…

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