Virgin Trains closes $1.75 billion bond issue to fund expansion to Orlando

The passenger train operator soon will start building 170 miles of new track from West Palm Beach to an intermodal facility at Orlando International Airport

April 21, 2019 04:00PM

From left: Francis Suarez, Patrick Goddard, Richard Branson, Esteban Bovo and Ken Russell

Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, closed a $1.75 billion private-activity bond issue to fund an expansion of its passenger train service to Orlando.

Investment banking firm Morgan Stanley was the underwriter for the bond issue purchased by 67 investors. A state agency, the Florida Development Finance Corp., approved the bond issue April 5.

Part of the Virgin Group founded by Richard Branson, Virgin Trains will use the bond-issue proceeds to fund construction of 170 miles of new track from West Palm Beach to an intermodal facility at Orlando International Airport.

Construction will start soon and is expected to conclude in 2022.

Virgin Trains, which also plans to extend its service in Florida to Tampa, has announced that it will operate passenger train service between Southern California and Las Vegas.

A subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group LLC, Virgin Trains last year launched service at downtown train stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

“We have already seen firsthand the economic benefits our project has delivered in South Florida from revitalizing downtown Miami to spurring growth in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.” Patrick Goddard, president of Virgin Trains, said in a prepared statement. – Mike Seemuth

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