Florida Politics: Brightline gets state approval to sell construction bonds

Posted on August 29, 2018

By: Scott Powers, Florida Politics

All Aboard Florida received state approval Wednesday to sell $1.75 billion in federal private equity bonds to extend its private, high-speed, Brightline passenger train system from South Florida to Orlando.

Meeting in Orlando, the Florida Development Finance Corp. board voted unanimously to grant state permission for the financing after more than three hours of public testimony that included opponents warning that the bonds were illegal under federal rules and the project unwise; and proponents arguing that a high-speed passenger train is just what Florida needs, and the private investment is exactly what such bonds were supposed to support.

The sides were drawn mainly with opponents coming from the ride-over counties along Florida’s Atlantic Coast who’ve been upset about potential safety problems from a 110-mph train and the hidden costs that communities will have to bear.

Brightline trains already are running between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The financing package would refinance the $600 million All Aboard Florida already has spent on that system with the lower interest-rate federal private equity bonds, and use the other $1.15 million to upgrade or build new railroad tracks to connect West Palm Beach to the Orlando International Airport…

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