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IRC commissioners vote to turn down settlement agreement with Brightline

Posted: 7:49 PM, Nov 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 04:23:47-05
Martin Co. approves settlement with Brightline

UPDATE: Indian River County Commissioners voted four to one Tuesday evening to not only turn down a settlement agreement with Brightline, but also to spend another $1 million to continue the fight. 

It was an agreement that Martin County Commissioners had approved earlier Tuesday. 

Part of the deal would have required Brightline to build a station on the Treasure Coast within 5 years of the train's expansion to Orlando and undertake a number of safety improvements along the line. 

Martin and India River counties, along with Citizens Against Rail Expansion, had sued over various elements of the train expansion. 

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for next week in Washington. 

It's unclear if they will go on as planned. 

EARLIER STORY:

Passenger train service on the Treasure Coast is now one big step closer to reality.

Tuesday, the Martin County Commission, along with CARE, Citizens Against Rail Expansion, approved a settlement agreement with Brightline.

Brightline, which is rebranding as Virgin Trains USA, will be required to build at least one train station on the Treasure Coast within five years of the first paying passengers taking the expanded train service to Orlando.  That is expected to happen by 2021.

"If you've been following this, you know this is a significant change in position from Brightline.  When the train was proposed, we were merely going to be a passthrough," County Attorney Sarah Woods told commissioners Tuesday.

As to where that stop would go, both Stuart and Fort Pierce have expressed interest.

The agreement also spells out a number of other Brightline requirements, including elevating a section of the St. Lucie Bridge to allow more marine traffic when its down, vehicle presence detection systems at 17 crossings in Martin County, and sidewalks wherever the county sees fit.

In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, Virgin Trains USA showed a potential stop at Disney World, but none on the Treasure Coast.

We’re awaiting a response as to the potential discrepancy.

Martin County, Indian River County, and CARE had sued over how the expansion of the train was going to be funded and other safety and environment concerns.

Oral arguments were scheduled for next week in Washington.

This settlement would cancel that court proceeding.