Brightline, the company behind the Miami-Orlando high speed rail project, finally announced their SoCal-to-Vegas line’s construction plans as well as their target to start operating by 2024!
Naturally, I got jealous of them and how they got there. If you ignore the time the developers got sidetracked with irrelevant drama like finding the wrong investors or fighting Tea Party congressmen, Brightline got their federal permission to build this rail line “three” years ago (2011 + 2018~20). So how did they make that jump so quickly when our connection to DC and Richmond is taking so long to fund?
Brightline is paying for this project by selling private activity bonds, but I got curious about how it worked and where that money would really be coming from. It turns out Morgan Stanley is the main underwriter of these bonds, but California’s part of the project is really being sold by something China has but North Carolina (or the US, federally) doesn’t.
That “something” is an infrastructure and development bank. It’s a bank specifically for public projects both big and small -plus, for Cali, lending money for small businesses specifically to help local economies. It makes it easier and quicker to have one place handling all public loans and bonds, instead of making each cabinet department do its own thing like in NC now.
Does anyone know if we’ve ever tried to do something like that around here -and if it might help make high speed rail through Raleigh happen sooner?