Palm Beach Post: Fort Lauderdale train station revealed as second phase of All Aboard Florida may face delay

Posted on July 8, 2014

By Kim Miller

A new coalition of northern Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast communities has formed a limited liability company to fight All Aboard Florida, the proposed express passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando.

Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida adds to grassroots efforts that had preceded it, such as Florida NOT All Aboard. It has developed a strategic plan and raised money to obtain legal counsel to respond to an Environmental Impact Statement, which has yet to be released.

“We do have significant resources talentwise and otherwise to take our concerns over public safety, quality of live and the impact on our home values to the next level,” said Bill Ward, CEO of Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart, and a member of the CARE’s steering committee. “We’re just working at a variety of levels to share our concerns.”

The coalition sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today saying it has many questions about financing of the project, including whether community taxpayer dollars will be needed to supplement safety upgrades and maintenance at crossings.

“To be sure, and as you have publicly articulated, these rail projects have potential benefits,” the letter says. “But that also begs a fundamental question: For how many, and at what cost?”

Other members of the coalition include Frenchman’s Creek Beach & Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, the Club at Admiral’s Cove, and Jonathan’s Landing, both in Jupiter.

In the shadow of Fort Lauderdale’s towering Wells Fargo building and mere blocks from Las Olas Boulevard, All Aboard Florida unveiled its plans today for a $30 million station it says will serve as a funnel into downtown.

The station, which will be similar to the as yet undisclosed West Palm Beach station, is 60,000 square feet of space on a weedy swath of NW Second Avenue west of the FEC railroad tracks.

All Aboard Florida, an express passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando, had expected to open the entire rail line in late 2016. But with an Environmental Impact Statement for the area north of West Palm Beach delayed, it is focusing now on the first phase.

All Aboard Florida says it is starting construction this summer on the Miami to West Palm Beach section. It expects it to take two years from the release of the statement to complete the second phase.

The private company has also faced its biggest opposition in areas of Northern Palm Beach County through the Treasure Coast. Last month Sen. Joe Negron said he is against the rail line because of concerns he has about safety, noise and disruption to the marine industry.

The Fort Lauderdale station is more modest than Miami’s $150 million complex, but does have a pedestrian walkway over NW 2nd Avenue to allow traffic to flow underneath.

Click here to view original article