Private Activity Bonds

HERE WE GO AGAIN | BRIGHTLINE GETS APPROVAL FOR $1.15 BILLION IN TAX-FREE BONDS FOR EXPANSION TO ORLANDO

BRIGHTLINE GOT THE OK TO BORROW $1.5 BILLION THROUGH TAX-FREE BONDS, despite the objections of numerous Treasure Coast officials who attended the meeting.

This is the second time the state board approved bonds. The first was back in August 2015 when the agency approved of $1.75 billion of bonds, but Brightline canceled the request and instead sought for separate approvals for $600 million and the $1.15 billion approved yesterday.

TRAIN WRECK TIMES - NEWS FLASH!

TRAIN WRECK TIMES by Susan Mehiel

NEWS FLASH!

Well, this just couldn’t wait.  We had a major victory in our efforts to Stop The Trains! this week with the release of the attached letter to Transportation Secretary Choa.  We could not have asked for a better outcome from our work in Washington and the subcommittee hearing last month.  In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the letter sent to the Secretary from Congressman Meadows and signed by Congressmen Mast, Posey, DeSantis and Gaetz.

CONGRESSMEN CALL ON FEDS TO SUSPEND BRIGHTLINE BONDS

FIVE CONGRESSMEN CALLED ON FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS TO SUSPEND THE $1.15 BILLION IN PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS FOR ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S BRIGHTLINE PASSENGER RAIL, saying there are still a number of "yet-to-be answered questions" concerning Brightline's use of the bonds. These five include four Florida lawmakers and Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Government Operations.

CONGRESSMAN MEADOWS ON AAF FEDERAL FUNDING: 'WE CANNOT SUPPORT ... BLANK-CHECK AUTHORITY'

CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS MARK MEADOWS ASKED U.S. TRANSPORTATION SEC. ELAINE CHAO TO SUSPEND THE ALLOCATION OF ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS. This request was made in a letter that Meadows sent on May 16. This was following his subcommittee's April 19 hearing where he went in "with an open mind, but came away from it deeply troubled about (USDOT's) position."

LETTER SENT TO USDOT SEC CHAO FROM CONGRESSMAN MEADOWS WITH DESANTIS, GAETZ, MAST, AND POSEY

CONGRESSMEN MARK MEADOWS WITH RON DESANTIS, MATT GAETZ, BRIAN MAST, AND BILL POSEY SENT A LETTER TO U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY ELAINE CHAO. This letter follows the recent Operations Subcommittee hearing three weeks ago, which raised great concerns about the DOT's "interpretation" of Private Activity Bond allocation and the PABs that were allocated to All Aboard Florida's Brightline passenger rail.

BRIGHTLINE'S PRIVATE-ACTIVITY BONDS IN PERIL, BUT PHASE 2 CONSTRUCTION NEARING

BRIGHTLINE HAS UNTIL MAY 31 TO SELL THE $1.15 BILLION OF PRIVATE-ACTIVITY BONDS FOR PHASE 2 OF ITS PASSENGER RAILROAD BUT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A SALE IN SIGHT. This deadline was set by the U.S. Department of Transporation when it approved the bonds December 22.

DOES BRIGHTLINE QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL BONDS? TAXPAYERS DESERVE AN ANSWER!

U.S. SENATOR MARCO RUBIO, AS WELL AS MANY TREASURE COAST RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS, WANT TO KNOW IF BRIGHTLINE QUALIFIES FOR FEDERAL TAX-EXEMPT BONDS. Rubio sent a letter this week to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao seeking clarification, saying "it is critical that the utmost transparency is provided to taxpayers" and that Brightline "has raised questions regarding whether federal financing was appropriately used."

SENATOR MAYFIELD URGES RICK SCOTT TO 'PROTECT' STATE FROM BRIGHTLINE BOND QUESTIONS

THANK YOU TO SENATOR DEBBIE MAYFIElD WHO URGED GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT TO PULL FLORIDA FROM FINANCING THE DEAL BACKING BRIGHTLINE'S PROPOSED PRIVATE PASSENGER RAILROAD on Wednesday. This is due to the congressional hearing last week where questions were raised about whether Brightline should have been approved for the $1.75 billion in tax-exempt private activity bonds.

Watch the congressional meeting here.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO CHALLENGES LEGITIMACY OF BRIGHTLINE FINANCING

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO JOIN REP. BRIAN MAST AND QUESTIONS BRIGHTLINE'S APPROVAL FOR $1.75 BILLION OF TAX-EXEMPT BONDS. Rubio has sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, calling for "increased transparency" on Brightline and the U.S. Department of Transportation's questionable approval of the bonds.

This is not the first letter that Rubio has sent questioning the Brightline project. In January, Rubio asked Chao for a safety review after two people were killed within the first week of Brightline launching service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

BRIGHTLINE CRITICIZED FOR D.C. HEARING

CONGRESSIONAL PANEL BALKS AT REQUEST FOR PUBLIC FUNDS TO EXTEND RAIL SERVICE. On Thursday, Congressmen blasted Brightline for possibly circumventing federal law to obtain $1.75 billion of tax-free financing, and suggested the financing for Brightline's Miami-to-Orlando passenger railroad could be in jeopardy.