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New citizens group worried about high-speed rail expansion

Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 18:50:11-05

Train tracks bisect tiny St. Lucie Village where Ann Sinnott lives. "The very lives and safety of our visitors are at stake. Keep in mind the average household makes 9 trips a day across these tracks,” said Sinnott.

Tuesday, Sinnott joined other advocates in Vero Beach to announce the formation of FAST, the Florida Alliance For Safe Trains.

“Our goal is they operate as safely as possible without using taxpayer dollars," said Susan Mehiel of FAST.

State Senator Debbie Mayfield was among those wearing black ribbons in memory of those who’ve been killed on the tracks in South Florida.

She says fellow lawmakers in Tallahassee are finally seeing high-speed trains as a statewide issue, not just a regional one.

“They’re starting to wake up to the issues that we have been talking about for the last five years," said Mayfield, who represents Indian River and some of Brevard County.

While FAST doesn’t consider itself an anti-train organization, there are many on the Treasure Coast, and specifically in Indian River County, that hope high-speed rail never makes it through.

Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari has led the charge against high -peed rail.

The county has spent more than $3 million fighting the train so far and has filed suit against Virgin Trains arguing the county shouldn’t be responsible for crossing improvements.

“I’ve probably have had more people happy with me how I’ve tried to fight this project than any other individual project," said Solari.

Virgin Trains USA plans to begin service through the Treasure Coast to Orlando by late 2021 or 2022.