Letter: New bill aims at protecting Floridians from accidents at dangerous rail crossings

Posted on February 1, 2017

By: Dick Sievinen, Stuart

A bill sponsored by state senator Debbie Mayfield, the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act (SB 386), would give the Florida Department of Transportation regulatory authority over high-speed rail where not preempted by federal regulations. The bill would apply to both high-speed passenger rail (operated at speeds over 80 mph) such as All Aboard Florida’s Brightline and Florida East Coast Railway’s freight operations.

After many years of use the rail infrastructure has been degraded and consequently has become a “dinosaur” in terms of modern rail systems. This legislation is designed to protect Floridians from accidents and injuries at dangerous railroad crossings. It requires high-speed passenger rail companies to pay for the installation or realignment of crossing gates and fencing, along with maintenance of roadbeds, tracks, and railroad culverts It will ensure that all repairs, maintenance and upgrades will be paid by the rail road company and not subsidized with taxpayer dollars...

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