Treasure Coast's U.S. Representative Brian Mast and key railroad executive, Mike Reininger, behind AAF's Brightline high-speed passenger rail clashed in Congress yesterday with Mast contending the company is getting public tax dollar subsidies despite claims to the contrary.
This occurred during a hearing of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. During this hearing, Mast challenged the company's claims that it is 100 percent privately funding and that some of the federally-backed loans and private equity bonds being pursued include federal money.
Reininger contended that only interest reductions in the federally-guaranteed loans and bonds would constitute public money, and the bond program was specially created by Congress to spur private investments such as All Aboard Florida. He also insisted that grade crossings are maintained by local governments through age-old agreements and that the company would invest "substantially" in the bridge upgrades.
"Despite their dishonest claims to the contrary, All Aboard Florida has repeatedly pursued public, taxpayer-funded financing," Mast stated after the hearing. "Floridians deserve the truth about who is paying for All Aboard Florida, as well as why they are failing to address critical safety and economic concerns."
Read more about the hearing here.