All Aboard Florida permit application from Army Corps held in abeyance pending request for more information
Posted on May 17, 2016
In a response to All Aboard Florida's (AAF) permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for construction of its proposed passenger railroad, on May 12 the Corps notified AAF that there are extensive deficiencies in its application and AAF has 30 days to provide additional information or its permit request can be denied or deactivated.
In its letter, the Corps noted the numerous letters of objection received during the public comment period for the permit application as well as Indian River and Martin counties' identification of data gaps in the dredge and fill plans and wetland delineation maps provided by AAF in its application.
Martin County believes that given the breadth of new information that will need to be submitted by AAF, the Corps should open a new public comment period after the new information from AAF is made public, and that comment period should be no less than 30 days. This would provide a reasonable amount of time for experts to review the new information and offer meaningful comments for further consideration.
The Corps acknowledged objectors' assertions that there are flaws in AAF's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), notably the Alternatives Analysis section which is how AAF claimed that the Florida East Coast (FEC) tracks were a better alternative than other options such as the western CSX tracks. The Corps also stated in its letter that objectors "cited increased noise, increased vibration, reduction in public safety, and property value reduction" as key areas of concern. Additionally, during its permit application review, the Corps identified discrepancies in "the impact assessment figures, functional assessments, indirect impact analysis, and compensatory mitigation."
To avoid denial or deactivation of the permit application, AAF must provide extensive additional information within 30 days including:
- Providing revised functional assessments, impact analysis and other discrepancies in information discussed during a permit application review meeting between AAF and Corps staff on April 18, 2016
- Addressing the public comments submitted by Martin and Indian River counties and other objectors
- Substantiating why the FEC tracks are the least environmentally damaging alternative when compared to CSX tracks
- Providing specific scientific and factual information that supports AAF's claims
The County is pleased that the Corps has requested this additional information from AAF and will continue to work to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public as it relates to the proposed AAF project. For more resources and information on the many local and regional issues of concern relating to the proposed AAF passenger rail project, including presentations, studies, letters of concern to state and federal agencies and more, visit www.martin.fl.us. In addition, please visit the County's social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, for updates.