Letter: Act now to direct All Aboard Florida away from Treasure Coast
Posted on December 24, 2015
Lizbeth Piel, Stuart
It is now abundantly clear that the All Aboard Florida (AAF) proposal to bring vastly increased rail traffic through Stuart and our other coastal towns, brings no benefits and nothing but disruption, costs and damage to our quality of life on the Treasure Coast.
When and if bond financing can be obtained, the AAF intends to implement the plan immediately, regardless of unified local opposition. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation is "considering" undertaking a 20-year "study" to evaluate the "possibility" of freight and passenger service on an alternative western corridor.
Wait 20 years? Why not solve the problem now?
The solution seems obvious: Act now, through our state and county legislatures, to exercise "eminent domain" to obtain land for public use and to lay an entirely new, high capacity railway through the relatively unpopulated lands along the west side of the I-95 and Florida Turnpike, avoiding the more densely populated communities of Stuart and other towns along our Treasure Coast.
Let's do it right by planning to install automated safety crossing warning systems and barriers, overpasses and underpasses for all significant crossroads, new roadbeds and rails designed to take fast, heavy freight and passenger train traffic, and well-designed bridges over waterways to facilitate boat traffic and movements of wildlife.
As the principal for-profit beneficiary of the western corridor plan, AAF should be willing to shoulder most of the investment costs, but the plan should also qualify for supplementary state and federal grant funding to pay for the land taken with "eminent domain" for the public good.
Thus the means and resources are potentially available to do the job right. What we need is the nonpartisan political will to get the job done — now.
Go west, All Aboard Florida. Go west.