Brightline asks to cancel meeting on $1.2 billion bond request


All Aboard Florida’s Brightline has asked a state financing group to cancel an emergency meeting set for Monday to discuss the private rail venture’s request to sell $1.15 billion in tax-exempt bonds to pay for the second phase of its project connecting West Palm Beach to Orlando.

The Florida Development Finance Corp., a special financing unit created by the state Legislature in 1993 to help businesses and nonprofit groups finance capital projects that promote economic development, was scheduled to hear the request at a special meeting in Jacksonville.

MORE: Brightline stimulating South Florida with simulated train service

“Brightline has asked FDFC to cancel the emergency meeting scheduled for Monday due to the House and Senate agreeing to a tax reform bill that preserves private activity bonds,” a company spokesperson said in a statement issued Saturday.

Tax-exempt private activity bonds like those being sought by Brightline had been targeted for elimination under the House version of the Republican tax plan being discussed by federal lawmakers.

On Friday, Brightline won approval from federal transportation officials to extend its passenger rail service north to Orlando, clearing the way for the private rail venture to begin construction on its second phase connecting West Palm Beach and central Florida.

The federal approval comes as Brightline prepares to launch service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Brightline has said it plans to launch service by the end of 2017. But with just over two weeks left until the new year, the company has not announced its schedule or ticket prices.

“Brightline will announce the launch date for the start of introductory service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach soon,” the company said in a news release Friday.



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