The Palm Beach Post: Why Palm Beach County homeowners are suing to stop All Aboard funding

Posted on April 28, 2015

Two homeowners in wealthy Palm Beach County enclaves have joined with Martin County in a lawsuit to stop funding to All Aboard Florida.


The men Thomas Hewitt and V. Michael Ferdinandi live in Jupiter’s Admirals Cove and Frenchman’s Reserve in Palm Beach Gardens, respectively.


Both own homes valued at more than $1 million, but that are near the railroad tracks.


Until Monday, Palm Beach County residents have remained mostly out of any formal actions against All Aboard Florida. Technically the lawsuit is against the U.S. Department of Transportation and its action to approve the private activity bonds for the express passenger rail project.


Ferdinandi, who spoke with The Post after the suit was filed Monday, said he is on the steering committee of Citizens Against Rail Expansion and fears his quality of life will suffer if All Aboard Florida comes to fruition.


“For us it’s a quality of life issue as well as a safety issue,” Ferdinandi said. “The other thing that is clear is their economics are very suspect.”


Dueling economic reports have passed back and forth between opponents and supporters of All Aboard Florida. One economic analysis has All Aboard pumping millions into the economy, another has it failing after a few years.


Hewitt’s home has its own dock and access to the Intracoastal waterway. In the 35-page lawsuit, it says All Aboard Florida would hurt boating in the area.


“The disruptiomn caused by the increase in train traffic would result in serious safety concerns for Plaintiff Hewitt, including traffic tie-ups near railroad crossings and the inability to use boats on the river without impediments to navigation, noise, harm to Palm Beach County parks, and damage to neighborhoods and environmental resources in Palm Beach County,” the lawsuit states.

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