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Boca Raton advances to next step with Virgin USA to add train stop

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 23:22:38-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Virgin USA, formally known as Brightline, met with Boca Raton city leaders Monday in public for the first time since expressing interest to build its 4th station in South Florida.

The high-speed rail service broke ground earlier this summer for the future Orlando leg. The company wants to add a Treasure Coast and a southern Palm Beach County station to make the train more popular.

“If you live in Boca it’s not the easiest system to use and we think adding a train stop in Boca Raton really opens up our system in Boca,” said Brian Kornberg, from Virgin USA, to the Boca city council during Monday’s meeting.

Council showed support, voting unanimously to continue talks with the company recently bought by Richard Branson.

“This certainly does put us on the map. We’ve been on the map in a number of ways and this is one more addition,” said Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer during a press conference after the meeting.

Now it’s time to work out the details.

“This would be like Christmas in July,” said Boca resident Peg Anderson during public comment.

“I caution you please, go slow,” another resident said to council during public comment.

The proposal would build a parking garage where the current downtown library parking lot is, sharing it between library goers and train users. The train station would supplant the community garden.

“It could be good, it could be terrible,” said Bill Gelin, who lives in the Library Commons neighborhood which is close to where the station would be built.

He supports the convivence of the train. He can just as easily get to Miami for work as he could West Palm for dinner, but he’s worried about the noise, despite assurances it wouldn’t be an issue. Virgin USA shares the tracks with freight trains.

“It’s common sense, for anybody that’s from Boston or New York like I am if a train comes through the station, it doesn’t stop, it blows it’s horn to make sure nobody is on the platform,” Gelin said during an interview in the neighborhood.

This is still in the very early stages. Virgin USA said they would like to have a station built by the end of next year. Council said it would be 4 to 6 months before they could formally vote on a proposal.