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Sheriff Snyder urges increased safety for Brightline high-speed rail service

Posted at 8:43 AM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 02:37:44-04

A bill possibly delaying the start of rail service between Miami and Orlando is gaining support.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says he is in favor of Senate Bill 386, creating the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act.

In a statement Snyder said, "Despite overwhelming objection by citizens and first responders, it appears likely that high-speed rail is coming to Martin County. I believe that if the bills proposed by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) and Representative MaryLynn Magar (R-Tequesta) are passed by the Florida Legislature, it will make our citizens safer and I support their efforts.”   

In 2015, the sheriffs on the Treasure Coast sent a letter to Brightline expressing concerns about the impacts increased rail service could have on response times.

Despite their concerns, Brightline said law enforcement wouldn't be held up a railroad crossing for more than 60 seconds.

Writers of Senate Bill 386 say the bill aims to increase public safety and would require the railway to install fences along its tracks.

Brightline told the Miami Heralda fence would not increase safety and would further delay the start of trips between West Palm Beach and Orlando.

Senator Mayfield’s SB 386 has already passed with a bipartisan, unanimous vote through the Senate Committee on Transportation, by members who represent all regions of Florida from the Panhandle to Palm Beach County.  It is co-sponsored by the Transportation Committee Chairman, Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City).

Rep. Magar’s companion bill, House Bill 269, co-sponsored by Representative Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach), is scheduled to be heard in the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 8 a.m. in Reed Hall (102 House Office Building).