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Doubts Raised About the Private Equity Firm Behind High-Speed Rail to Vegas
Romy Varghese and Nathan Crooks reveals an underreported story involved in the effort by Virgin Trains USA to build a high-speed rail route between Southern California and Las Vegas: growing concerns about the business model of the private equity firm Fortress Investment Group, owner of the company.
Virgin Trains USA was full of positive news regarding the project over the summer, claiming the project would start construction in the coming year. But there is bad news about the company behind the company reported here. It starts with stagnant ridership on the company's existing service in Florida, and a stagnant expansion of the project:
There’s also no word on when additional stations may open in Tampa and at Walt Disney World. Tapping Disney tourists was an ultimate goal pitched to buyers of the high-yield municipal debt the company sold in April and June for the Orlando expansion. The sales occurred several months after the company put its initial public offering on hold. Since then, yields on the unrated bonds suggest the market is skeptical that the Florida train will work out as well as hoped.
The article quotes multiple sources who express doubts about getting involved in the Vegas project given the company's performance in Florida.