All Aboard Florida downsizes bond financing plan

Rendering of a Brightline passenger train
Rendering of a Brightline passenger train

All Aboard Florida plans to finance the development of its Brightline passenger train service between Miami and West Palm Beach with tax-exempt bond sale proceeds totaling $600 million  —  about one-third of the $1.75 billion amount the company initially sought. The Coral Gables-based company, which believes the smaller bond offering would be easier to market, plans to extend the passenger train service in phase two of its development from South Florida to Orlando.

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Court documents filed October 29 detailed the company’s downsized plan to borrow through an issuance of private activity bonds by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that yield tax-exempt interest. Martin County and Indian River County have challenged the eligibility of All Aboard Florida for such financing in federal lawsuits against DOT, which conditionally approved a bond sale on behalf of All Aboard Florida in 2014. (Palm Beach Post) — Mike Seemuth