The TC Palm: Vero Beach Officials consider resolution opposing All Aboard Florida

Posted on October 14, 2014

By Kristina Webb

October 13, 2014

In a joint meeting Monday night with the city’s High-Speed Rail Commission, the Vero Beach City Council discussed considering a resolution opposing All Aboard Florida.

Officials from the commission and the council discussed concerns about the high-speed passenger rail project, which would send 16 trains a day on round trips between Orlando and Miami with stop in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Mayor Richard Winger called for the city to draft a resolution similar to one recently passed by Indian River County, along with a memorandum of understanding regarding how the city will work with other governments, in particular the county and Sebastian, in opposing All Aboard Florida.

This would be different from the May 6 All Aboard Florida resolution passed by the City Council, where officials expressed concerns about the project.

Officials Monday night also discussed the draft Environmental Impact Statement released by the Federal Railroad Administration on Sept. 19, and how the city plans to respond to that report’s public comment period, which ends Dec. 3.

“Clearly the … Environmental Impact Statement has deficiencies,” said Councilwoman Pilar Turner.

Turner added that she believes All Aboard Florida’s decision to seek private funding is proof that municipalities’ resolutions opposing All Aboard Florida are being heard.

“It’s a huge issue with our people and I think our people want us to act upon that issue,” Winger said.

Other concerns raised by the council at the meeting included safety issues; traffic delays; and how the city would pay for potential increases in maintenance costs for rail crossings.

There was opposition at the meeting to Vero passing an anti-All Aboard Florida resolution.

Bob Webster, a Winter Beach resident, said he lives a quarter-mile from the tracks and does not believe All Aboard Florida will impact his property values.

Webster added that he is concerned with the language used by Indian River County in its resolution, and it makes him “embarrassed as a county resident.”

Officials did not say when they expect a draft resolution to be prepared.

The next City Council meeting is at 6 p.m. Oct 21 in council chambers at City Hall, 1053 20th Place, Vero Beach.

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