Boca Raton city leaders don't want burden of quieting trains to fall on residents

Passenger trains to honk horns near Dixie Hwy

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Bob Hein knows what it's like to live right next to train tracks.

"It woke you up and you would feel the vibration," says Hein, a retired Boca Raton police officer.

He still lives a couple blocks away from the train tracks that run alongside Dixie Highway. 

Florida East Coast Industries is planning to start a passenger line on those tracks from Miami to Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. It would bring 32 more trains near Hein's house daily.

"One impact would be to the car traffic, two the noise issue," says Hein.

One popular option is to install a "quiet zone" where the train tracks meet the road. It includes a concrete median to stop cars from driving around the protective arms that come down as trains pass. The horn would only sound at the intersection, not from the train.

The estimated cost of a quiet zone ranges from $600,000 to $700,000 according to the City of Boca Raton. Building eight of them through the city would bring the cost to almost $5 million. The big question is who will pay for it?

City Council member Anthony Majhess wants Florida East Coast to pay.

"The train will come through and make noise so what is the benefit to the community? If you want to traverse our city, pay for the quiet zone," said Majhess.

Depending on what the Federal Railroad Administration decides, the city could end up footing part of the bill. A possibility that doesn't sit well with residents.

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