ST. LUCIE COUNTY — The St. Lucie County Commission on Tuesday took its first steps to crafting a resolution opposing All Aboard Florida, the planned high-speed passenger rail service.
The commission directed County Attorney Dan McIntyre to write two resolutions: one listing reasons why the group is opposed to the rail service, and the second supporting the public having 90 days to comment on a forthcoming report from the Federal Railroad Administration that outlines the project’s effects on the environment.
Both resolutions are expected to be on the commission’s 9 a.m. June 16 meeting agenda.
The commission’s actions took place after a 45-minute presentation about All Aboard Florida from Kim DeLaney, strategic development coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
All Aboard Florida, a subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, plans to have 16 passenger trains making round trips between Miami and Orlando on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks and right of way by early 2016. The trains would stop in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and zip through the Treasure Coast at speeds up to 110 mph. No Treasure Coast stops are planned.
“Too many challenges, too many problems and not in the best interest for St. Lucie County,” Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky said, listing reasons he is against the project.
The planning council has created a list of more than 20 concerns — including traffic and environmental issues — it has about the rail project, DeLaney said. She said more will be know later this month when the Federal Railroad Administration releases its environmental-impact statement about the project. All Aboard Florida officials have already agreed to extend public comment to 75 days from 30 days when the draft of the statement is released.
Florida East Coast Industries executive Rusty Roberts attended the meeting and said the plans to triple the track through St. Lucie Village are not to store trains on the tracks or impede traffic.
“The third track will allow the free flow of passenger and freight traffic,” Roberts said.
“Quite honestly, I haven’t heard anything that benefits St. Lucie County,” said Paula Lewis, County Commission vice chair.
Also on Tuesday, the Martin County Commission passed a resolution outlining its opposition to All Aboard Florida.