West Palm Beach may ask state of Florida to pay for quiet zones at 39 railroad crossings

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- As progress is made on All Aboard Florida, the proposed passenger rail service from South Florida to Orlando, city commissioners may ask the State of Florida for as much as $5 million to pay for so-called quiet zones at 39 crossings over the Florida East Coast Railway.

Quiet zones don't require that trains blow their horns because additional crossing gates and other improvements make the crossings safer, Elliot Cohen, a city spokesperson said.

Cohen said West Palm Beach had more railroad crossings over the Florida East Coast Railway than any city on the proposed All Aboard Florida route.

Mattie Jones, a Northwood Hills resident who has lived near the Florida East Coast Railway and the CSX railroad for 26 years, said she had grown accustomed to the sounds of passing trains.

"I can tell the time by the train. I can tell what time it comes by," Jones said. "It's shaking everything down. Shaking everything. All the pictures and everything down."

On Wednesday, Mayor Jeri Muoio said that the cost of the quiet zones was a regional concern.

"The League of Cities in Palm Beach County has gotten involved as well and we sort of think that by coming together municipalities and communities we'll have a stronger voice," Muoio said.

City commissioners were expected to decide on Monday whether to ask the State of Florida to pay for the cost of the quiet zones.

All Aboard Florida has said it expected to begin passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando in late 2015 or early 2016.

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