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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

DOT approves Brightline PAB

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Brightline, the in-process South Florida private passenger service operator, announced the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $1.15 billion Private Activity Bond allocation, and that Brightline also secured the final two South Florida Water Management District permits needed to construct the planned high-speed segment between Orlando and Cocoa.

The company said it plans to start construction on the Phase 2 high-speed line in early 2018.

“In another major step forward for Brightline’s Phase 2 extension to Orlando, U.S. DOT approved a $1.15 billion Private Activity Bond allocation,” said Dave Howard, Brightline’s Chief Executive. “After a successful $600 million PAB closing this week, we are pleased to have this financing option available. We appreciate the leadership of U.S. DOT as they work to move major infrastructure projects forward, creating thousands of jobs and stimulating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development.”

A Private Activity Bond allocation typically comprises tax-exempt bonds issued by or on behalf of local or state government for the purpose of providing special financing benefits for qualified projects. The financing is most often for projects of a private user, and the government generally does not pledge its credit.

Brightline said it is still analyzing all financing options for Phase 2, including a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan. With all federal approvals in place, Brightline is finalizing the engineering and design for the rail infrastructure. Additionally, it is working on the installation of a new signal system and Positive Train Control (PTC) for the entire system between Miami and Orlando. PTC will be in place between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018 and will be operational along the entire 235-mile route at the time the extension to Orlando opens.

Brightline’s station in Orlando is planned for the Orlando International Airport’s new Intermodal Terminal Facility that will be the hub of the future South Terminal complex.

The company said it continues working toward operational readiness with the Federal Railroad Administration for the launch of introductory service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and will release details soon.