JUPITER, Fla. —
Residents in a packed room at the Jupiter Community Center let officials from Brightline know they weren’t interested in the company’s high speed trains moving through their town.
Officials with Brightline gave a presentation Monday night and answered questions afterward.
A few people expressed their support but the overwhelming majority made it clear they want Brightline to stay away.
“Safety is a huge issue, and you have really not stepped forward,” said Sally Dillon, a representative of an organization called Alliance for Safe Trains.
“I hope you stop in West Palm and don’t come up here,” said Jupiter resident Howard Searcy to loud applause.
Brightline currently runs from Miami to West Palm Beach.
The company is in the process of expanding its tracks north to Orlando.
Monday night, a company representative told the crowd they plan to run more than 30 trains every day.
Those trains will exceed 100 mph.
During a question and answer period, many in the crowd expressed concerns about inconvenience, worrying about excess noise and traffic as the trains go through the town.
“Everybody in this room would have been on your train if it went from West Palm to Orlando through the middle of Florida where nobody lives,” one man said.
Other people talked about the cost to the taxpayers, though Brightline said that cost is nothing.
“It’s a private company on private land, and it is a business venture,” said Rusty Roberts, Brightline’s vice president of government affairs.
However, most people expressed concerns about safety.
“People can’t judge trains moving at 79. They can’t judge trains approaching at 110 miles per hour,” said Jupiter’s vice mayor, Jim Kuretski.
“31 people have died,” Dillon said. “So, my question is, ‘How do you sleep at night?’”
Dozens of people have died on Brightline tracks since the company started operating in January of 2018.
Brightline representatives said each of those cases were caused by someone trying to beat the train or trying to commit suicide.
“Equipment on our crossings have performed,” Roberts said. “No incidents that we’ve had on the railroad has been a result of some malfunctioning equipment.”
Roberts said he expects trains to be running to Orlando by 2022.