Likely, this week is proving to be amongst the most significant in Virgin/Brightline's history. Here is an Editorial by the Orlando Sentinel's Board:
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion ... story.html
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Remember back in 1999, when Central Florida was just one Orange County Commission vote away from building a light rail line along Interstate 4?
Remember back in 2011 when newly elected Gov. Rick Scott turned down $2 billion in federal money for high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa?
Let’s hope we’re not going to remember 2019 as the year Florida passed up yet another opportunity to kick our addiction to roads.
On Friday, a quasi-government agency is scheduled to decide whether Virgin Trains USA — the new name for Brightline — should be allowed to sell $950 million in tax-exempt bonds to complete a rail project linking Miami and Orlando. The agency already approved $1.75 billion in bonds for the project.
The bond proceedings themselves would be a crashing bore to the average person. But they’re key to Virgin Trains’ plans.
We’ve been on board with this idea from the start, in part because Florida desperately needs transportation options. A state with this many people cannot continue to rely so heavily on roads to move people around. It’s a losing proposition...
There does, however, appear to be a conflict between the Post's reporting noted in my immediate, and the opinion expressed here by the Sentinel's Board.
I do think the Board's position of keep the government out of it, is a bit optimistic. True, these bonds are "6% tax-free" and will be privately placed with "institutionals". Presumably they are professional enough to know what they are getting into, being quite aware that they will be paid only from the farebox after the trains are gassed up and the drivers are paid - and, oh, the wine vendor.
Now what I think is unsaid is that these institutional holders are betting on is that they will be bailed out at the "Tallytrough" should there be a default.
Finally, I remain astounded how far the initiative has come (again "for those tuning in late", I thought it was a ploy to "fatten up the steer" to sell the railroad to the State) and further acknowledge that in my sixty five years of following industry affairs, including eleven "inside", I have never been so mistaken regarding an outcome.