"The completion of construction for Brightline's 170-mile Orlando-to-Miami expansion has been delayed a bit.
Miami-based Brightline in a June construction report tied to its bond disclosures said the completion of the route from West Palm Beach to Orlando International Airport now is set for early 2023 rather than by the end of 2022.
The company's monthly revenue and ridership report for June stated it would raise money in the coming weeks to "complete funding of the Orlando extension." Construction is still active on the route per the report, with the Orlando Vehicle Maintenance Facility expected to be completed in August and roughly 600 construction workers active.
“We have made tremendous progress, completing 80% of construction through the pandemic and subsequent supply-chain challenges," Brightline spokesman Ben Porritt told Orlando Business Journal. "We’re on track to complete the system at the beginning of 2023.”
The company's ridership report said it had an outstanding allocation from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the issuance of $500 million in tax-exempt private activity bonds which will expire Aug. 31 if unissued. The company plans to "issue this debt, and/or raise other capital sufficient to fund completion of remaining project construction as well as additional reserves."
The report said if the company cannot raise additional financing, it "may decided to curtail or delay" some construction. "Also, a certain number of the company's contractors have indicated they may suspend work and/or exercise remedies against the company if the company is unable to make required payments and/or maintain agreed-upon funding levels for construction."
The project budget has not changed substantially, with the current cost of new South Florida stations and the Orlando route at $2.8 billion. In addition to the Orlando route, Brightline is working on stations in Boca Raton, Aventura and PortMiami along its existing corridor in South Florida.
Brightline also is collaborating with commuter rail SunRail on a potential east/west corridor through Orlando. That would allow SunRail to connect to Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center while letting Brightline make an extension from Orlando to Tampa.
The company said June 2022 ridership was at 92,304 for its existing corridor, up 15% from June 2019."