Business Journal: Wes Edens' rail firm buys Vegas-California project, wins Florida funding

Posted on September 19, 2018

By: Rich Kirchen, Milwaukee Business Journal

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens’ high-speed rail company said it will buy the operator of a planned high-speed train linking Las Vegas and Southern California even as Edens’ company won $1.75 billion in tax-exempt bonds to extend its Florida railway.

Eden’s Miami-based Brightline said Tuesday it agreed to purchase a high-speed rail project named XpressWest that would allow it to work with transportation officials to connect Las Vegas with Victorville, Calif., with plans to connect into the Los Angeles area, according to Milwaukee Business Journal sister publication the South Florida Business Journal.

XpressWest is a private rail project developed and owned by Las Vegas strip contractor Tony Marnell. Edens is a principal and co-CEO of Brightline owner Fortress Investment Group in New York City.

Construction is set to start in 2019 on the Vegas-to-California route, with plans to begin service in 2022. Cost estimates haven’t been released.

Brightline currently has Florida stations in downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The company is working on a $2 billion extension to Orlando, which is slated to be completed by spring 2021. Brightline also plans to expand the line from Orlando to Tampa.

Brightline’s planned Orlando-to-West Palm railway expansion recently secured approval for a huge boost in funding. The Florida Development Finance Corp. unanimously approved $1.75 billion in bonds for Brightline’s Coral Gables-based parent, All Aboard Florida…

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