The Palm Beach Post: Non-profit group raises concerns about All Aboard Florida
Posted on May 12, 2015
The Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park, a non-profit group, is raising concerns about All Aboard Florida’s plan to run 32 trains a day on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks, which run through a portion of the state-owned preserve.
In a letter to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, the group said it has concerns about the project’s impact on wildlife and visitor’s safety.
Bruce Bain, the group’s president, said the express trains could harm already-threatened Scrub Jays, indigo snakes, Gopher tortoises, and the protected Gopher Frog.
In the May 7 letter, Bain said several trails cross or run next to the train tracks, creating a safety issue for the park’s visitors.
“These trails are used by thousands of Park visitors and month and associated events engage hundreds of trail users per day,” Bain wrote. “The relatively low volume of current rail traffic through the Park allows event organizers and trail participants to work around train schedules and limit potential person/train intercourse events.”
All Aboard Florida plans 32 passenger trains a day between Miami and Orlando on the FEC tracks, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The Miami-to-West Palm Beach service is expected to begin in late 2016, with the Orlando leg starting in 2017.