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Las Vegas High-Speed Rail on Hold

A plan to build a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas is on hold after the developer came up short on fundraising. Affordable housing projects in California stand to benefit from the newly available state bond funding.
November 23, 2020, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Fortress Investment Group is postponing its plan to build a train to Las Vegas from Southern California after failing to sell a record amount of unrated municipal debt to finance the speculative project," reported Romy Varghese at the end of October.

Varghese blames the failure on a lack of investor appetite during the pandemic, but the company has also recently weathered a major upheaval, splitting from Virgin Trains USA.

Fast forward to the middle of November, and the attention turned to the 600 million of California private activity bonds that had been allotted by the state to the high-speed rail system. Since its bond sale, Fortress has had to return that funding to the state.

At a November 18 hearing, the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, chaired by State Treasurer Fiona Ma, decided to redistribute that huge chunk of funding to affordable housing projects.

Varghese reports again: "The Debt Limit Allocation Committee, which controls the allotment of bonds, voted to allocate all to affordable housing projects, first prioritizing those that serve extremely low income residents, said committee chair and Treasurer Fiona Ma Wednesday after the meeting."

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Published on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 in Bloomberg
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