All Aboard Florida received approval yesterday from a Florida board to issue $1.75 billion in tax-free bonds, just as the company is completing piling work at the MiamiCentral station.
The company will now be able to pay off $405 million worth of bonds issues last year that sold at a 12 percent interest rate, which were used to begin work on stations and tracks in the Miami area. The yield on those bonds had drifted up to nearly 15 percent in light trading at one point.
The new bonds will be unrated. However, the interest rate will likely be lower than last years sale, which were riskier and contained several provisions that were investor unfriendly.
Marketing for the bonds will begin within a month. The debt sale must be completed by the end of the year to retain tax-exempt status, but legal challenges from Treasure Coast governments are still pending.
At MiamiCentral, all 1,600 piles have now been drilled, with each reaching a depth of 100 feet. Workers were seen starting track work in the area last week, along with new pilings for piers that will help elevate the rail track 50 feet above street level.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $2.5 billion, with AAF investing $700 million in equity.