The TC Palm – Letters to the Editor: Eminent domain should be used on AAF
Posted on January 13, 2015
Fred Hetzer, Stuart
Letter: Case for using eminent domain to stand up against railroad bullying
Eminent domain is the power of the state or federal government to take private property for public use. However, it can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even private persons or corporations, when they are authorized to exercise the functions of public character.
I read with interest the article about how much money the railroad collects from the various governments in our state to allow roads over its property and utilities under it.
While the railroad has owned this land since the late 1890s, that was well before the various towns grew up on the Treasure Coast. It appears that the land is vitally important to the public now.
The idea of 32 trains flying through our towns at extremely high speed is certainly not for the public’s good. Consider the impact of ambulances trying to get to the nearest hospital. Fire departments and police will also be interfered with (consider the fire department in Port Salerno, right next to the tracks).
Coast Guard and emergency vessels will also be greatly restricted by the railroad bridge across the St. Lucie River because of excessive closures.
If All Aboard Florida persists with its plan, perhaps the land should go to the towns. This would also allow the towns some negotiating power on how many and at what speed the trains would be allowed to run. It might be cheaper and safer for the town residents to buy the land from the railroad and get their money back through leasing the land back to the railroad.
We are all being bullied by a big business who could care less about our quality of life and safety. As they say, it is all about the money. Our “government” needs to support the citizens that have elected them by providing the safety that we all need.