Florida lawmakers divided over bonds for Brightline expansion to Orlando
Posted on May 23, 2018
By: Jim Turner, the News Service of Florida
Members of Florida’s congressional delegation are split over bonds for the controversial Brightline passenger train service that expanded south to Miami last week.
In separate letters, delegation members urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to support or suspend $1.15 billion in federally-authorized tax-exempt bonds that Brightline’s parent company, All Aboard Florida, intends to use to finance a northern expansion of the service through the Treasure Coast to Orlando.
“We are concerned that financing programs created by Congress with the express goal of encouraging private investment in projects that serve a public purpose are under attack by certain interests attempting to undermine this project,” the letter Monday from bond supporters said.
Among the members of Congress signing the pro-Brightline letter, which describes the private rail service now operating between West Palm Beach and Miami as “transformative” and a “project of national and regional significance,” were Republicans John Rutherford, Dennis Ross, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo and Democrats Darren Soto, Lois Frankel and Frederica Wilson. Most represent areas with Brightline stops now in place or planned…