Letter: Surrender to high-speed trains defies logic

Posted on February 18, 2016

By: Charles Walker, Sebastian

Letter: Surrender to high-speed trains defies logic

Several recent letters to the editor have lamented the money spent fighting All Aboard Florida's presumably unstoppable assault on our Treasure Coast. I wonder if some smart public relations expert from Fortress Investment Group might have had a hand in encouraging these letters? However, Rich Campbell's Jan. 31 column presumably cannot be written off as a plant. Campbell's call for full-blown surrender in the interest of the taxpayers of Indian River and Martin Counties defies both logic and reason.

Living in Syracuse, New York, at the high point of the interstate highway boom, everyone in government, business and the press thought building an elevated Interstate 81 through the very heart of the city was a great idea! It would drive traffic to local businesses and speed up urban renewal. In reality they built a wall through the center of the city, destroying long established cohesive ethnic minority neighborhoods, destroying a vibrant downtown area and literally displacing a generation of the poor.

Fifty years later Syracuse, once an economic powerhouse, is a pitiful shadow of its former self. Today my Syracuse is one of the poorest major cities in the United States with one of the highest crime rates. Different times and different places you say? Well, maybe. When the real AAF bill comes due I'll be long gone. But anyone who thinks high-speed rail service from Miami to Orlando is economically viable is deluding themselves. Dramatically increased freight traffic including chemicals and other hazardous materials resulting from the increased capacity of the Panama Canal, the Port of Miami and other ports up the east coast of Florida? Well, now, that's another story. Maybe Campbell will be able to spend his golden years at the former Brightline station in Fort Pierce watching endless freight trains whiz by.

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