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Rail News: Passenger Rail

USDOT OKs Brightline's private activity bond allocation

Federal approval of the PAB represents a "major step forward" in Brightline's second-phase extension to Orlando.
Photo – Brightline


Brightline, the privately operated express passenger-rail service that will soon serve southeastern Florida, has received U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) approval for a $1.15 billion private activity bond (PAB) allocation.

Additionally, Brightline has secured the final two South Florida Water Management District permits needed to construct the segment between Orlando and Cocoa, Florida, railroad officials announced in a press release.

The USDOT's approval of the PAB represents a "major step forward" in Brightline's second-phase extension to Orlando, said Brightline Chief Executive Officer Dave Howard.

"After a successful $600 million PAB closing [last] week, we are pleased to have this financing option available," Howard said.

Brightline officials are analyzing all financing options for Phase 2 of the project, including a federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program loan.

With all federal approvals in place, Brightline officials are finalizing the engineering and design for the rail infrastructure. Additionally, they are working on the installation of a new signal system and positive train control (PTC) for the entire system between Miami and Orlando.

PTC will be in place between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2018 and will be operational along the entire 235-mile route when the extension to Orlando opens.
Brightline's Orlando station will be located at the Orlando International Airport.

Brightline officials also are working toward "operational readiness" with the Federal Railroad Administration to launch passenger service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The company began operating simulated service between the two cities earlier this month.