WFSU: Conflict Abounds With All Aboard Florida Rail Plan

Posted on April 21, 2015

All Aboard Florida wants to build more rail lines in the Treasure Coast and North Palm Beach County. But it’s encountering heavy criticism as it seeks to expand high-speed commuter rail in the state.

Brevard County Attorney Kendall Moore, speaking on behalf of Craig Technologies says he supports the project and believes the commuter rail system will promote economic development in the region.

“All Aboard Florida also represents an efficient alternative to highways and is important to coping with Florida’s anticipated growth in population,” Moore says.

Also in favor- Port Canaveral’s Jerry Samson. He says economic growth always follows good transportation infrastructure.

“Brevard leaders and citizens recognizes this potential and support the all aboard Florida project in order to better connect Miami and Port Canaveral premier cruise operations with Florida’s other top tourist centers,” Samson says.

But not everyone is on board with AAF. The privately funded rail system has drawn criticism and concern on issues about safety, zoning, development and land use. All Aboard Florida predicts 32 trains will run daily through the Treasure Coast beginning in 2017.  It’s asking the semi-governmental entity, the Florida Development Finance Corporation (FDFC), for nearly $2 billion in tax-exempt bonds. But Rep. Mary Lynn Magar (R-Tequesta) is against the funding.

“It is still unclear to me and to all those involved how FDFC can still move forward with this agenda item when we have not seen any ridership numbers or any financial data that would suggest that this project could be successful or beneficial to the Florida economy,” Magar says.

AAF’s primary opposition has come from Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL). CARE FL is a coalition created by local community leaders, organizations and residents in South Florida and the Treasure Coast.

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