Statement by CARE FL Steering Committee Chairman Brent Hanlon RE: Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce Adds Its Voice to Opposition of All Aboard Florida

Posted on September 12, 2016

Care FL Update
September 12, 2016


Statement by CARE FL Steering Committee Chairman Brent Hanlon 
RE: Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce Adds Its Voice to Opposition of All Aboard Florida

Over two and a half years ago, Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL) was formed as a means of unifying and organizing a strong, consistent voice against the proposed All Aboard Florida (AAF) passenger rail project and related increases in freight rail.  During this time, we have had a growing number of community groups, businesses, trade associations, government entities and elected officials who have publicly voiced their opposition to this ill-conceived project. We are pleased to announce an important addition to our growing list of opposition groups: the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce. 

Earlier this year, the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted to take a formal position to oppose All Aboard Florida, stating that while it “recognizes the potential positive impacts for communities along certain sections of the railroad corridor...the impacts to Martin County remain negative and the potential long‐term burden of taxpayers is uncertain.” 


The Chamber’s position statement also stated that a myriad of concerns had not been addressed by AAF including: traffic delays with respect to Martin Health System and the Martin County School District which are both located on the east side of the FEC tracks.  The Chamber’s position statement said, “Additional delays for first responders, doctors, nurses and at‐risk patients will hinder their ability to provide and receive critical care. The trains will negatively impact students travelling by school bus, causing additional drive time and expense to the school district.”


After reviewing AAFs engineering plans, safety was another key issue of concern for the Chamber stating that it did “not appear that All Aboard Florida will be making safety upgrades at a couple of downtown Stuart intersections that are critical for commerce and traffic in the center of our county. Instead, it appears that it will be up to the local government to make these safety improvements at taxpayer expense.”


From the beginning, CARE FL has put an emphasis on building a coalition that amplifies our voices and concerns. We have established strong working relationships with Indian River and Martin County, with state and local elected officials, and with school board members, sheriffs, firefighters, paramedics, local business leaders and more.


We appreciate the leadership displayed by the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce in adding their voice to our efforts to prevent the ill-conceived AAF project from negatively impacting the safety and quality of life of our communities. 


We would encourage the other Chambers of Commerce to show leadership and add their collective voices to our efforts to protect our communities and our quality of life.


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CARE FL is a coalition created by a group of concerned community leaders, organizations and neighbors in South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Our group continues to grow. We share a common goal: Protecting the safety, welfare and way of life for the families, businesses and retirees who live in and around our communities. To learn more about CARE FL’s concerns, and follow us on Twitter@CARE_FL or like us on Facebook.