The TC Palm – Indian River Shores requesting All Aboard Florida fund project without public agency help
Posted on November 20, 2014
INDIAN RIVER SHORES — Concerns with public financing of a proposed All Aboard Florida high-speed rail project led the Indian River Shores Town Council to vote unanimously Wednesday in favor of a resolution that requests the rail company pay for all costs, including rail stations, quiet zones, corridor improvements and maintenance without help from public agencies.
Of particular concern to the Town Council was the state of Florida’s proposal to spend $215 million of taxpayer money to construct a rail station at Orlando International Airport that would serve the All Aboard trains.
“Instead of the All Aboard Florida project being a passenger-rail service provided by a private company using solely private resources, it is now painfully clear that as currently structured, a significant portion, if not all, of the financial burden of the All Aboard Florida project will be borne by the taxpayers through several forms of assistance from federal, state and local governments,” the resolution states. “All Aboard Florida and Florida East Coast Industries are not relying solely on private financial resources to fund the All Aboard Florida project as they are seeking funding through a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program loan of potentially up to $1.5 billion from the Federal Railroad Administration, an agency of the United States government.”
The resolution did not specifically address the 50 pages of comments presented to the Indian River County Commission this week by County Attorney Dylan Reingold, who criticized a federal review of the passenger rail proposal and asked the Federal Railroad Commission to take a second look at Indian River County before greenlighting the plan. Reingold said the draft environmental impact statement does not adequately address construction impact, traffic lulls, floodplain planning, noise, vibration, climate change and other ways the project could impact county residents.
Members of the Town Council did say at their Oct. 23 regular meeting that they would not support the All Aboard Florida project since it was not beneficial to the area, and much better suited for nonstop rail service through the unpopulated center of the state.
Mayor Brian Barefoot said the resolution addresses the concerns of the town as they related to the All Aboard project.
“This is similar to what the other municipalities have done,” Barefoot said.