MIAMI, Fla. (April 19, 2019) – Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, announced today the closing of $1.75 billion in private activity bonds (PAB) to help fund the company's expansion to Orlando. It is one of the largest PAB transactions to date. Morgan Stanley was the underwriter for the transaction that was purchased by 67 different investors.
With the closing of the sale, Virgin Trains USA has the necessary funds to begin construction for service to Orlando, including 170 miles of new track to a state-of-the-art intermodal facility located in the new South Terminal at the Orlando International Airport. Construction will begin imminently and is expected to be complete in 2022.
The rail construction between West Palm Beach and Orlando is expected to have a significant economic impact in the State of Florida, including the creation of more than 10,000 jobs and is anticipated to generate more than $650 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. The project is 100 percent privately financed and represents a total investment of $4 billion.
“Today is affirmation that our vision for passenger rail holds great promise and highlights a tremendous appetite in the private markets for large-scale transportation and infrastructure projects,” said Wes Edens, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Fortress Investment Group and chairman of Virgin Trains USA. “Connecting Miami and Orlando makes tremendous business sense, but even more, it provides a public benefit to the State of Florida including thousands of jobs that will keep the state economically competitive for decades.”
“We have already seen first hand the economic benefits our project has delivered in South Florida from revitalizing downtown Miami to spurring growth in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.” said Patrick Goddard, Virgin Trains USA President. “This private investment will create a critical infrastructure corridor that is essential to the state's continued growth and high quality of life. We are revolutionizing train travel and realizing a decades long vision of operating express passenger rail in the State of Florida.”
“We are proud to be associated with such a transformational project that generates sustainable increased economic activity, reduces traffic congestion, and benefits the environment,” Brian Wynne, Managing Director and Head of Public Finance at Morgan Stanley. “We look forward to working with Virgin Trains as it continues to build much needed infrastructure in the United States.”
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About Virgin Trains USA
Launched in 2018, Virgin Trains USA is a subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group LLC and it is the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail service in the United States. Providing fast, efficient, hospitality driven transportation featuring the latest in customer-friendly amenities, Virgin Trains USA currently operates in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to expand into Orlando and Tampa. The Company recently announced that it will construct and operate a new express service connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are generally identified by the use of words such as "outlook," "believes," "expects," "potential," "continues," "may," "will," "should," "could," "seeks," "approximately," "predicts," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "anticipates," "target," "projects," "contemplates" or the negative version of those words or other comparable words. Statements concerning plans to build a passenger rail system, anticipated timelines, costs and benefits are all forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon Virgin Trains USA's limited historical performance and on Virgin Trains USA's current plans, estimates and expectations in light of information currently available to Virgin Trains USA. The inclusion of any forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by Virgin Trains USA that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by Virgin Trains USA will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but instead represent only Virgin Trains USA's belief as of the date of this press release regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of Virgin Trains USA's control. There are, or will be, important factors that could cause actual events to differ from these forward-looking statements, and any such differences could cause Virgin Trains USA's actual results to differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include but are not limited to the following: (1) Virgin Trains USA's limited operating history; (2) any future cost overruns and delays relating to construction of Virgin Trains USA's rail system, as well as difficulties in obtaining requisite approval or sufficient financing to pay for such costs and delays; (3) risks, costs and liabilities associated with environmental and other government regulations, including any future changes in such regulation; (4) Virgin Trains USA's ability to obtain additional funding in order to complete construction of its rail system; (5) adverse macroeconomic and business conditions in Florida or any other areas into which Virgin Trains USA may expand; and (6) risks that the rebranding may involve unexpected or greater costs or liabilities than anticipated. Furthermore, new risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, some of which may be beyond Virgin Trains USA's control, and it is not possible for Virgin Trains USA to predict those events or how they may affect Virgin Trains USA. Except as may be required by law, Virgin Trains USA does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.