Florida Politics: Feds approve seven-month extension for Brightline train bonds

Posted on June 7, 2018

By: Scott Powers, Florida Politics

The federal government has granted a seven-month extension for All Aboard Florida to sell the $1.15 billion in private equity bonds it intends to use to finance the proposed higher-speed rail expansion that could roll private Brightline passenger trains between South Florida and Orlando.

The extension comes in the nick of time, as the company’s federal approval for the bonds was to expire Thursday.

With the extension, the train project continues to roll, even as opponents have heated up efforts to convince the U.S. Department of Transportation that it had made a mistake in approving the federally-authorized, tax-exempt bonds in the first place. Opponents contend that Brightline shouldn’t have been eligible under federal rules, which they interpret to apply to highways, not railroads.

The battle has been raging in Congress, as groups of congress members opposing the company’s use of the PABs have dueled with members supporting the company. Meanwhile All Aboard Florida has maintained that not only was the train project eligible for the federal bonding program, it’s an ideal recipient…

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