COUPLED WITH CITIZENS AGAINST RAIL EXPANSION (CARE FL), INDIAN RIVER AND MARTIN, FLORIDA COUNTIES HAVE SENT A LETTER TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (USDOT) AND THE USDOT CREDIT COUNCIL ABOUT ALL ABOARD FLORIDA'S (AAF) HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE. This letter asked USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao to "exercise extreme caution" before considering or approving AAF's request for a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to build out Phase II of the project that would connect West Palm Beach to Orlando, and that the loan is unlikely to be paid and will default to taxpayers.
"We believe AAF is struggling to find a way to finance Phase II," said Indian River Attorney Dylan Reingold. "In fact, they have unsuccessfully tried to sell tax-free private activity bonds (PABs) on at least three different occasions. To date, they have been unable to find buyers, and as recently as NOv. 28, 2016, withdrew the company's PAB application."
"CARE FL urges USDOT to review the findings by Dr. Friedman, along with recent developments including ownership changes by the company that present unacceptable financial uncertainties for a project of this magnitude," Brent Hanlon, chairman of CARE FL commented.
AAF's parent company, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), is now owned by Softbank, and Florida East Railway (FECR), is owned by Grupo Mexico.
Another very important factor to consider is that the AAF's rail project will be located near President Donald Trump's often visited property, Mar-a-Lago.
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