MIAMI (May 6, 2021) -- Today, Brightline CEO Michael Reininger presented to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. Reininger offered a private sector perspective on how America can break through the inertia to create a national high-speed rail network and presented tangible steps Congress can take to unlock more private investment into high-speed rail.
Reininger highlighted Brightline’s success and high-speed rail’s ability to meet the Biden Administration’s objectives related to jobs, climate and equity. Excerpts from Reininger’s testimony included:
Jobs: “And of course, there’s the $6.4 billion in economic impact that Florida is already realizing as a consequence of our activities, including more than 10,000 construction jobs.”
Climate: “Our Florida trains run on biodiesel and Brightline West will operate zero-emission, electric trains. Together, these routes will remove more than a half million tons of CO2 emissions annually by eliminating 7.6 million vehicle trips.”
Equity: “Additionally, high speed rail revitalizes downtown areas with new transit hubs, enhancing existing infrastructure and encouraging further development to consolidate around stations. Both our transportation and development activities have advanced equity within our communities. Development of MiamiCentral helped spur revitalization of Overtown, an historically vibrant community of color that was cut off with the construction of I-95 decades ago.”
Reininger also offered several recommendations to the committee that will help the country unlock the potential of high-speed rail, including:
Grant Programs: “Consider allowing private entities to become eligible parties for FRA grant programs by partnering with currently eligible applicants as a simple way to stretch direct government investment.”
Private Activity Bonds: “Consider increasing the volume cap on PABs from the current $15 billion – which has already been exhausted – to $30 billion to create a larger available pool to help finance projects.”'
Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF): “Another opportunity to improve access to capital is to revamp the RRIF program to make it more attractive to private investors in passenger rail projects.”
Brightline connects city pairs that are too short to fly and too far to drive. Brightline currently has an existing line in South Florida, is currently under construction to the Orlando International Airport, and is planning a third extension to Tampa.
Brightline West is the company’s first expansion outside of Florida and will connect Las Vegas to the greater Los Angeles Metro Area. The project would utilize fully electric, zero emission train sets with top speeds of 200 miles per hour making it the greenest form of transportation in the country.
Full Remarks: https://www.gobrightline.com/press-room/brightline-ceo-testifies-before-the-house-committee-on-transportation-and-infrastructure-
Brightline is the first privately funded passenger rail system in America in over a century and was recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel. Brightline is designed to reinvent travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive. Providing fast, efficient, hospitality-driven transportation featuring the latest in customer-friendly amenities, Brightline currently operates in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to develop new stations in Boca Raton, Aventura and Port Miami. Construction to Orlando is underway and will be complete in late 2022. Brightline West, which will connect Las Vegas and Southern California, is shovel ready and expects to launch service in 2024.