Private Activity Bonds

VIRGIN TRAINS USA OWNER SELLS MIAMICENTRAL OFFICE BUILDINGS FOR $159M

VIRGIN TRAINS USA'S PARENT COMPANY, FLORIDA EAST COAST INDUSTRIES, SELLS OFFICE PORTION OF ITS MIAMICENTRAL STATION FOR $159.4 MILLION. This includes the ground floor retail, two office buildings and parking space, property records show. Tenants include Viacom, the Confederation of North Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and Carlton Fields and Atlantic | Pacific Companies.

Read more here.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT'S ESTIMATED COST RISES TO $79B, REPORT SAYS

ESTIMATED COSTS FOR THE CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT INCREASED $2B TO A TOTAL OF $79B, according to a report by the High-Speed Rail Authority.

This project has been vehemently blasted by President Trump and other officials such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom comment that the full project "would cost too much and take too long."

The latest estimate for the high-speed rail project's completion is set for 2033.

Read more here.

BRIGHTLINE PARENTS RAISES $1.75B IN BONDS TO BUILD ORLANDO LEG

VIRGIN TRAINS USA RAISED $1.75 BILLION IN BOND SALE THIS WEEK. The Bond Buyer reported that the $1.75 billion was a portion of about $4 billion of orders that Virgin Trains received for the sale. These new bonds issues are to be used for the expansion to Orlando and to refund $600 million in bonds in 2017.

Read more here.

VIRGIN TRAINS USA NAME WILL MAKE ITS FIRST MUNI MARKET APPEARANCE

VIRGIN TRAINS USA WILL BE ISSUING $1.5 BILLION IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS TO BE PURCHASED NEXT WEEK. These bonds will pay for the 236-mile passenger rail line between Miami and Orlando, refund the $600 million of PABs issued in 2017 and more.

This high-speed passenger train is not entirely supported. Safety advocates such as Susan Mehiel of the Florida Alliance for Safe Trains are concerned about having trains (that will run up to 100 mph) barreling through the Treasure Coast's densely-populated downtowns.

THE FUTURE OF HIGH SPEED RAIL

FULL SPEED AHEAD, SAYS VIRGIN TRAIN USA SAYS (FORMERLY BRIGHTLINE) DESPITE FRESH CONCERNS WHETHER THE PROJECT WILL HAVE ENOUGH FUNDS TO PAY FOR ITS EXPANSION. According to financial documents, Virgin Trains USA is at an $82 million loss in nine months and have recently decided to abandon a $500 million stock sale.

"They're bleeding money like crazy," commented Richard Rampell, CPA with MBAF in Palm Beach. "Based on the results that have happened so far, they've got a long way to go before they become profitable."

VIRGIN TRAINS USA SIDETRACKS PLANNED $538 MILLION IPO

As background, Indian River County has appealed Federal Judge Cooper’s decision in favor of Brightline at a cost of $400,000 to IRC. One of their claims is that the PABs are designed as highway bonds and not rail bonds. If the Judge’s decision is overturned and the $1.7B Private Activity Bonds (PAB) have been sold, these bonds will be recalled.  

If they have not been purchased, bondholders will have to factor in the possibility that these bonds may be recalled at a future date.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SHOULD REJECT $3.7 BILLION LOAN TO JAPANESE-OWNED COMPANY FOR FLORIDA HIGHER-SPEED RAIL PROJECT OPERATING ON MEXICAN COMPANY-OWNED LINE

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MAY APPROVE A $3.7 BILLION RAILROAD REHABILITATION & IMPROVEMENT FINANCING (RRIF) LOAN TO VIRGIN TRAINS, owned by SoftBank Group based in Tokyo, to build a high-speed passenger train project on a freight rail line owned by Grupo Mexico.

SoftBank Group and Grupo Mexico could easily afford to issue their own bonds to cover these costs.

BRIGHTLINE GOES VIRGINAL. WHAT PRICE VIRGINITY?

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ARE BEING MADE AFTER BRIGHTLINE BEING PURCHASED BY VIRGIN LAST MONTH, reports David Peter Alan of the Railway Age. These developments include an IPO for stock and a possible additional station near Disney World.

TRAIN WRECK TIMES | HOLIDAY EDITION

The Train Wreck Times by Susan Mehiel - Holiday Edition

WE HAVE MUCH TO CELEBRATE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON! Despite all of the so-called positive media they’ve drummed up and the votes by Martin County and CARE FL, AAF/Virgin is no closer to starting construction on the second phase of the project than they were when the year started…think about that for a minute.

CONGRESSMEN TAKE AIM AT BRIGHTLINE BONDS

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN MAST AND POSEY POINT TO AN OCT. 31 REPORT as they press the Department of Transportation to stop the extension Brightline has requested to issue tax-exempt bonds. These bonds are needed to expand Brightline's second phase from South Florida to Orlando.

The report is from the state Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, which supported financial and safety concerns about Brightline's service, as well as stating that the DOT hasn't used its authority to regulate the high-passenger rail's expected speeds.