TCPalm: Brightline opponents ask court to block $1.15 billion of tax-free financing

Posted on July 19, 2018

By: Lisa Broadt, Treasure Coast Newspapers

When preparing crucial environmental reports, federal agencies failed to sufficiently analyze Brightline’s potential impacts and instead leaned heavily on the railroad’s own research, Brightline opponents said in court documents Wednesday.

As such, the court should declare Brightline ineligible for private-activity bond financing and rescind $1.15 billion of tax-exempt bonds previously approved for the project by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to the documents filed in U.S. District Court, District of Columbia by Martin County, Indian River County and the citizens group CARE FL.

The Brightline opponents' motion for summary judgment is the latest in an ongoing legal battle, which over the last four years, has played out in state and federal courts.

Brightline does not comment on active litigation, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Opponents argue Brightline poses a threat to public safety, quality of life and the environment and hope to prevent Brightline from expanding passenger-rail service north from West Palm Beach  on the existing Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

Brightline, meanwhile, began phase 1 passenger service among Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach earlier this year. By 2021 the company plans to expand through the Treasure and Space coasts and on to Orlando International Airport.

Extension to Tampa also is under consideration, according to Brightline…

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