Brightline’s $600 million of bonds approved by Florida Development Finance Corp.


Brightline has been issued $600 million in tax-free bonds to pay for Phase 1 of its passenger railroad — between Miami and West Palm Beach — according to the Florida Development Finance Corp.

The finance corporation, which will issue the bonds, made its decision at a board meeting Friday. It’s the second time the agency has issued bonds to the Miami-to-Orlando railroad.

In 2015, the finance corporation issued Brightline $1.75 billion of private-activity bonds, but the company failed to sell them, and last year canceled that request.

Instead, Brightline said, it would seek the tax-exempt financing in two phases. It immediately requested $600 million for Phase 1 and said it likely would separately request $1.15 billion for Phase 2, between West Palm Beach and Orlando, said former All Aboard Florida and Brightline President Michael Reininger.

Bill Spivey, executive director of the state agency, said issuing bonds to All Aboard Florida is in line with the finance corporation’s mission “to promote the financing of projects for Florida business activities between the public and private sectors.”

Brightline first sought private-activity bonds in 2014 as a supplement or replacement to its original financing plan: a loan from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Citizen opposition group CARE FL on Monday criticized All Aboard Florida’s plan to use government-backed financing.

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