High-Speed Passenger Rail (HB 269 / SB 386) – This legislation not only protects Floridians from the potential dangers of high-speed trains by ensuring the appropriate safety technology is in place, but also protects their tax dollars by ensuring the appropriate entity pays for those upgrades. It provides powers and duties of Dept. of Transportation, provides minimum safety standards and requires compliance with federal laws and regulations. Railroad companies will solely be responsible to construct, improve and maintain the rail corridor which will take the burden off local governments and the state.
Legislators from Martin County, St. Lucie County and Indian River County have jointly asked the Federal Railroad Administration to reject the All Aboard Florida project in this strongly worded letter. The Legislators say there are too many unanswered questions about safety, negative impacts and ridership.
“…we question the accuracy of the estimated ridership of approximately 3.5 million passengers per year in 2019 and exceed 4 million by 2030. At a time when most passenger rail in the United States has to be subsidized by government in order to remain operational and has limited ridership, we question the assumption that by 2019 3.5 million visitors or local residents per year will forgo driving or flying between Miami, Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach to Orlando to use AAF.”
Read the letter here:
TC Delegation Letter AAF
Jupiter Inlet District has rescheduled and changed the location of its April Board Meeting to WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2015, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Jupiter Town Council, 210 Military Trail, Jupiter, Florida 33458.
There will be a presentation addressing Jupiter Inlet District’s position regarding the All Aboard Florida project’s impact on the navigability of the Loxahatchee River. The meeting will include a presentation by Taylor Engineering identifying these impacts, as well as mitigation solutions.
In a letter from the Jupiter Inlet District to the United States Coast Guard, the attorney says railroad traffic does not take priority over vessels in navigable waters of the U.S.
Attorney William H.R. Broome says “the increased frequency of bridge closings with All Aboard Florida rail traffic will unreasonably obstruct navigation in the river”. Mr. Broome sites engineering reports and possible solutions.
Download the letter here:
Congressman Bill Posey is asking Federal officials to answer questions about the legality of All Aboard Florida’s request for $1.7 billion dollars in private activity bonds. Congressman Posey says, “this controversial project is of great concern to my constituents for reasons related to safety, the environment, quality of life, and taxpayer burden.”
Read the letter here:
Posey Letter to DOT
Today, Indian River County filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the United States Department of Transportation’s approval of the allocation of $1,750,000,000 in private activity bonds to finance the proposed All Aboard Florida project. Indian River County, along with the Indian River County Emergency Services District and the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, Inc., are seeking an injunction to require the United States Department of Transportation to fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 and prevent the issuance of such bonds for the proposed All Aboard Florida project until these statutes have been properly followed.
Read the complaint here.
IRC Commissioners Tuesday unanimously backed Commissioner Bob Solari’s plan to commit $2.7 million to fight All Aboard Florida.
The county will put $500,000 in reserve and budget $1.1 million for each of next two fiscal years for a legal fight against All Aboard Florida.
He also wants a resolution voicing the county’s opposition to All Aboard Florida.
About 60 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, most in support of Solari’s proposal.
Martin County approved a similar plan Tuesday morning and will use up to $1.4 million to take legal action against All Aboard Florida.
All Aboard Florida plans to begin running trains between Miami and West Palm Beach by the end of 2016. Service would be extended through the Treasure Coast and on to Orlando international Airport in the first quarter of 2017.
Eventually, All Aboard Florida would run 32 daily round trips between Miami and Orlando.
Martin County Commissioners also unanimously voted to spend $1.4 million to fight the train. Details of the plan are to be developed.
AAF called the votes, “negative” and said the company remained open to building a station on the Treasure Coast.
Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida asks the Martin County Commission to support an agenda item today (February 17, 2015) that “if approved will significantly strengthen the efforts of CARE and others who oppose AAF and the many negative impacts that it would inflict on our residents. Should this measure pass — and it is our sincere hope that it will — please know that we stand ready to assist in any way the commission deems helpful.”
The Commission is set to take up the agenda item at 11am this morning in the M.C. Administrative Center in Stuart.
Read the letter here:
CARE Letter to Martin_County_Board_of_Commissioners
Many people have been complaining about the use of trains horns. We thought we would share the the FRA regulations in regards to the use of train horns. If these rules are not followed, please comment to:
FRA Region 3 Contact
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
Hot Line: 1-800-724-5993
The Use of Locomotive Horns
Under the Train Horn Rule (49 CFR Part 222), locomotive engineers must begin to sound train horns at least 15 seconds, and no more than 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings.
If a train is traveling faster than 60 mph, engineers will not sound the horn until it is within ¼ mile of the crossing, even if the advance warning is less than 15 seconds.
There is a “good faith” exception for locations where engineers can’t precisely estimate their arrival at a crossing and begin to sound the horn no more than 25 seconds before arriving at the crossing.
Train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of 2 long, 1 short and 1 long blast. The pattern must be repeated or prolonged until the lead locomotive or lead cab car occupies the grade crossing. The rule does not stipulate the durations of long and short blasts.
The maximum volume level for the train horn is 110 decibels which is a new requirement. The minimum sound level remains 96 decibels.
Boat U.S. Special Report by Nicole Palya Wood
If All Aboard Florida rolls through, Train Traffic will boom in Florida, creating a safety hazard and obstructions for the hundreds of boats a day needing bridge openings between Miami and Orlando.
Read the article here:
Boat US Feb Mar 2015 article
Martin County has just released the initial boat traffic count since installing the cameras in June. In the first 53 days, the camera recorded 12,874 boats – 243 a day. This s considerably higher than the 157 a day that AAF estimated would pass through the bridge when they claimed to have taken counts in January under what AAF called “peak season”. Florida NOT All Aboard has spoken with some of the affected marinas about the use of January to obtain data and they were skeptical of the numbers reported in the DEIS because January can typically be a slower boating month due to the rough boating weather during high winter seas. The marinas do not consider January “peak season”. These numbers demonstrate the data provided by All Aboard Florida is skewed in their favor.
Read more online: