All Aboard Florida at the TCPRC
UPDATE: See the update and link to the April 18, 2014 TCRPC meeting at the bottom of this page.
March 21, 2014
At the March 21, 2014 regular meeting of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC), the key item on the agenda was a discussion of the plans and status of All Aboard Florida – a transportation plan to run 32 high speed passenger trains a day between Miami and Orlando on the old Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) rail line that currently bi-sects all the coastal cities and towns along the southeast Florida coastline. The plan is advertised as a “private” venture not utilizing public (taxpayer) funding, but in March of 2013, FECI applied to the Federal Railroad Investment Trust for a $1.5 billion loan, which is in itself a form of taxpayer subsidy. Can you spell S-O-L-Y-N-D-R-A? Additionally, FECI is asking the 80+ local jurisdictions along the train’s right of way to take on the considerable expense of upgrading and maintaining the over three hundred grade crossings along the route from Miami to Orlando.
The All Aboard Florida plan will be highly disruptive to local community vehicular as well as marine traffic traveling east-west, and will generate added noise in nearby neighborhoods along the route, To top things off, there will be no stops at all between West Palm Beach and Orlando. It seems the Treasure Coast counties will bear the brunt of traffic congestion and disturbances while receiving no service benefit at all. The Treasure Coast counties bears the cost; Miami and Orlando reap the benefits.
There is an existing, more direct, alternate rail route – the CSX line that runs up through the center of the state between Miami and Orlando. Given all these facts, why are planners trying to ram this new traffic down the middle of existing cities and towns, further bisecting and disrupting existing communities? One could speculate here that the trains might appear to provide the rationale behind Seven50′s stack and pack high-density housing plan.
There is broad-based, growing, and increasingly vocal opposition to the All Aboard Florida plan coming from local Treasure Coast communities and jurisdictions. The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council is one place where local officials gather together. On March 21, 2014, they did just that, to hear and discuss presentations about All Aboard Florida. There was an overflow crowd of local citizens plus local elected officials who wanted to express their concerns about this passenger train plan.
American Coalition 4 Property Rights attended and video recorded the entire All Aboard Florida segment of the meeting. The presentations and discussion lasted for approximately 3 hours, so we have broken down the video into 5 major groupings, which follow below. But if you would like to view just the video clips of your elected officials or the just the video clips of citizens making public comment, you can click here:
1. Introduction by St. Lucie Commissioner Tod Mowery and TCRPC Executive VP Michael Busha
2. TCPRC Staff presentation by Dr. Kim Delaney, followed by Q&A
3. Address by Mr. Gonzalez of FECI, followed by Q&A
4. Public Comment from 17 speakers. Click here.
5. Board discussion about action TCRPC should take.
April 18, 2014 at the TCRPC
At the April meeting of the TCRPC, Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari attempted to introduce an item on that meeting agenda, which would focus TCRPC efforts to obtain more information about the All Aboard Florida (AAF) project – information which everyone admits is presently sorely lacking. That motion brought forth by the Indian River Board of County Commissioners was ultimately torpedoed by Palm Beach County members on the Board. But the discussion appears to have elevated the AAF issue Board’s eyes, and AAF is now expected to be on the Agenda of all subsequent TCRPC meetings. See the fireworks of the TCRPC’s April meeting here.