Brightline Debuts on Eve of $1.75B Deal for All Aboard Florida
BRADENTON, Fla. – On the eve of pricing $1.75 billion of bonds for a privately owned intercity passenger train system, the Florida developers unveiled the service's new name.
Using its Miami station as a backdrop Monday, All Aboard Florida officials introduced Brightline as the name of the express train service that it plans to operate on a 235-mile route between Miami and Orlando.
"With the introduction of Brightline, we set out to reinvent what traveling by train can mean in America, making it a forward-leaning solution that is a smarter alternative to more cars on crowded roads," said AAF President Michael Reininger.
The inter-city Brightline trains were designed by the Rockwell Group, and are being built in California by Siemens. The cars will be in bright shades of red, orange, green, blue, and pink, and led by bright yellow locomotives.
All Aboard stations, and transit oriented developments, are under construction in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach where the service will use existing Florida East Coast Railway tracks. New tracks will be laid to connect the passenger service to Orlando International Airport.
The total cost of the project has been estimated at $3.5 billion.
All Aboard is owned by Florida East Coast Industries, whose parent company is Fortress Investment Group.
The company is still fighting legal challenges to the project brought by Martin and Indian River counties. Both counties are in the path of the train route but no stops are planned.
On Tuesday, the Florida Development Finance Corp. will serve as the conduit issuer for pricing $1.75 billion in unrated private activity bonds authorized by the U.S. Department of Transportation for partial financing of All Aboard's project.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the book-runner for the tax exempt offering. Other firms underwriting the deal are JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley & Co., and Piper Jaffray.
Market participants said that All Aboard has tried for several weeks to place the deal with qualified institutional buyers and accredited investors.