Letter: If it can’t assure safety automatically, AAF should be required to slow train down

Posted on December 11, 2015

By: Joseph Leinbach, Stuart

AAF does not plan to have positive train control (PTC) installed and functional before it begins high-speed passenger service.

That's the 21st century safety system required by the Federal Railroad Administration that automatically slows or stop trains that exceed speed limits or face other dangerous hazards (such as blockage of tracks or open bridges) rather than depending on an engineer who may be talking on a cellphone, texting or have an illness or stroke.

AAF projects having 5 million passengers per year without PTC. Why would the management ignore such an important safety feature? I don't know, but it is reported that the PTC cost exceeds $300 million.

It has been four months since the Florida Development Finance Corp. approved the sale of $1.75 billion in bonds for AAF, but the market has turned down this junk-bond issue.

What to do? One solution is to have our County Commissioners enact a county rail safety ordinance limiting the speed of trains to 50 mph until PTC is installed and functional.

This might be challenged by AAF, but it is important for the Treasure Coast counties to be proactive for our safety.

A single track river crossing with high-speed passenger trains and slow speed freight, going both north and south on the same track at almost the same times is an accident waiting to happen. Slow down and save lives.

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