The United States House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations will conduct a hearing on April 19, 2018 into Brightline. Rep. Mast requested this hearing in February, which is titled “Examining Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bonds For All Aboard Florida’s Brightline Passenger Rail System.” Witnesses for the hearing include representatives for Brightline, the Department of Transportation, Martin County and Indian River County.
Grover Burthey, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation
Patrick Goddard, President and Chief Operation Officer for Brightline
Chief Dan Wouters, Division Chief of Emergency Management for Martin County Fire Rescue
Dylan Reingold, Attorney for Indian River County
Robert Crandall, Former CEO of American Airlines
Additional Members of the United States House of Representatives
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Oversight Committee Hearing Room
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
**Please note: A live stream of the hearing will be available here for Florida-based press.**
Despite their claim that Brightline is “not publicly funded at all,” there are at least four instances in which Brightline has sought public financial support:
- All Aboard Florida applied for nearly $1.6 billion in publicly-subsidized federal loans in 2013.
- Then, in 2014, All Aboard Florida applied for $1.75 billion in tax-exempt federal bonds. A U.S. District Court judge found that the cost to taxpayers would be up to $600 million.
- In 2014, the State of Florida allocated $213.5 million in its budget for the construction of a facility at Orlando International Airport. All Aboard Florida would be the sole tenant of this facility.
- Last year, Brightline was issued $600 million in tax-free bonds and then secured an additional $1.15 billion in tax-exempt bonds to pay for Phase 2 of the project.
Moreover, because Brightline failed to qualify for public financing under the statutory definition of high-speed rail, Brightline instead sought and secured the public financing for this expansion by claiming that their passenger rail train is actually a “highway.”
In addition to these financial concerns, Brightline trains have been involved in six deaths since they began running, raising serious safety concerns ahead of the proposed expansion through the Treasure Coast to Orlando.