eolesen wrote: ↑Wed Nov 16, 2022 2:25 pm
Anyone actually familiar with Brightline knows this thread is either foamer nonsense or a troll.
Sorry Mr. Olesen, but I cannot agree with you here (and you know that most times I do), but this topic raises a very legitimate question, with which I'm inclined to agree with the originator, Mr. Sextant.
First, I believe that Brightline, pricey as it is @ $140 round trip (that's Corridor pricing) is here to stay. Their level of on-board service is as consistent as found on a flight, and their equipment, now four years old, is impeccably maintained. Both my rides this past Sunday were "smack on time". I walked through Smart Class on the Northward trip to find and thank a young girl who helped get my phone to send a QR code so I could board (last time I ever do that; this octogenerian wants that piece of paper; sorry 'bout that, trees). There appeared to be about a 50% load factor.
But none of the above, affects whether Brightline will do well enough to pay the interest, or pay off the Private Activity (no Federal tax on the interest income) 8% coupon bonds that financed the whole enterprise. They were reportedly sold to well-connected Florida residents (no State tax for them) for whom the State could easily be the "Bail-Bondsman". That would result in the entire enterprise becoming a "ward of the State".
Now Mr. Olesen notes that Brightline is owned by a primarily real estate developer FECI that is ultimately owned by a Japanese concern; Softbank. The FEC Ry, now owned by Mexican interests, has no financial connection beyond the trackage fees Brightline pays. Softbank will not long tolerate a "cash negative" and will be looking for a new successor.
That successor will be the State.
While a surprise to those who follow passenger train affairs through the scope of Amtrak, Florida is really quite pro-passenger rail - just so long as it isn't Amtrak, where the powers that be reside in Washington, and not Tallahasse.
Now finally, I must put a strong disclaimer on the table; my batting average to date on Brightline affairs is simply ZERO. I first thought it was simply a ploy to "fatten the steer" for a sale of the FEC Ry to the State. Even though I hold such would have assured JAX would be an "open gateway" allowing the maritime companies calling at Miami or Ft Lauderdale the access to two railroads that they enjoy at any other US port. Once that sale was complete, it would be a "Brightline, what's that?" situation.