Train Seeks New Loan With Taxpayer Dollars

Florida train developer may switch tracks on federal financing

Brightline Station West Palm Beach June 2017

Brightline Station |West Palm Beach| June 2017

By Shelly Sigo, The Bond Buyer

BRADENTON, Fla. – The private company preparing to offer new passenger rail service in Florida appears to hedging its bets on whether to use private activity bonds to finance the project.

All Aboard Florida and its parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, inquired in recent months about obtaining a low-interest loan to finance its Brightline-branded train service from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration, according to correspondence obtained by The Bond Buyer.

The “opaque and complex rules” for federal programs discourage their use by the private sector, said Florida East Coast Industries Executive Director Michael Reininger.
The “opaque and complex rules” for federal programs discourage their use by the private sector, said Florida East Coast Industries Executive Director Michael Reininger.
“As a follow-up to our call today, I write to advise you of All Aboard Florida-Operations LLC’s intention to submit promptly an application for a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan,” Brightline Chief Executive Officer Dave Howard wrote in an April 11 letter to Roger Bohnert, deputy executive director of USDOT’s Build America Bureau.

Howard said the loan would be used to complete AAF’s express passenger railroad system between Miami and Orlando.

All Aboard Florida received a $600 million PAB allocation from the USDOT to finance the initial service route from Miami to West Palm Beach, which it expects to begin operating this fall.

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