February 2019

BRIGHTLINE AND TRI-RAIL HAVE KILLED DOZENS

EVERY OTHER WEEK, WE RECEIVE NEWS THAT ANOTHER PEDESTRIAN HAS BEEN STRUCK AND KILLED BY TRAIN. Since the initial test runs for the Brightline (now named Virgin Trains USA) high-speed passenger rail service in January of 2017, 15 people have been killed and at least 10 have been seriously injured. To top it off, Brightline still refuses to improve or maintain any of the 178 crossings the trains bullet through up to 110 mph. They say 67 of those crossings have supplemental features, but those crossings do not have full-closure barriers that span the entire intersection.

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.