TO BEGIN WITH, WE RECEIVED THIS EMAIL FROM A READER: “I LOVE LISTENING TO THE TRAINS AT NIGHT. I SUPPORT WIDENING THE TRAINS TO TWO LANES AND INSTALLING A HIGH SPEED RAIL LINE.”
With regard to adding a second track, Harry Bruce, president of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad from 1983-1990, who was “known in the business world as the executive who helped preserve the independence of Chicago’s last independent railroad” (Chicago Tribune) recently had this to say about that:
Harry Bruce, far right. 1988
“To put in a new track where you have an existing right-of-way and lay it next to that track there is a tremendous amount of preparation and I can’t think of any place where this has done before.
These tracks, the original East Coast tracks, were laid at the turn of the Century. Many of these towns didn’t even exist and when they did exist the roads were all dirt and there wasn’t any great problem to lay rail through these towns.
Its an entirely different situation today; everything has grown up and is much more sophisticated. To put in a new rail, the residents of South Florida have no idea what a horror story this is going to be when that takes place, if and when it does.
It’s going to cause a tremendous amount of destruption in the communities as they go through and put this together.
It’s going to be a nightmare.”
Then, in case you missed it, Phyllis Frey from Vero Beach had this letter to the editor published by the Press Journal, which we are including here with her permission.
Cost of Not Fighting will be Astronomical
Rich Campbell’s column (Press Journal), “All Aboard a Cancer? Only on Taxpayer’s Pocketbooks,” suggests We the People should roll over and allow the All Aboard Florida atrocity to have its way with us. Campbell should note that great strides have been made in stem cell research. He should grow a spine and accept that Treasure Coast lives matter.
AAF’s effect on real estate values: Statistical research from FAU and the Martin County appraiser’s office shows the projected devaluation of 1,400 homes and businesses that lie within 1,000 of the rail corridor. In SLC, this represents 1,539 properties or $ 300 million in real estate that will lose $ 77 million from ad valorem tax rolls. In Palm Beach County, there are 170,000 properties that fall into the devaluation category.
RE/MAX is now mandating that sellers disclose the negative impact of AAF/Brightline on livability and value in accordance with NAR’s code of ethics. This ripple effect also extends to high-end waterfront real estate.
Safety costs: Consider the risk of transporting passengers at 110 mph only a few feet away from FEC’s freight transportation of explosive HAZMAT including anhydrous ammonium nitrate, sulfuric acid, chlorine gas, propane, ethanol and soon, liquid natural gas through the middle of our small towns. When bomb trains derail, they explode into fireballs, spill their contents, set neighborhoods on fire, pollute their waterways and ignite fires that burn for days. The cost to human lives, the environment and property are astronomical.
Legal: AAF is in violation of state and federal laws. Legal action is supported by 75 percent of the TC population. The cost is less than 1 percent of our annual IRC budget or $ 45 per person. We must invest now in order to save millions in the future.
Then, in response to Stanford Erickson’s article published in Vero Communiqué on February 25, 2016 entitled: “Dual Strategy Needed to Beat All Aboard Florida, we received 157 comments on our Vero Communiqué Facebook page, so far.
Though some of the comments were directed at “Overthehillary” and Governor Scott, all but seven were against the All Aboard Florida project; some comments expressed more vociferously than others.
Here are two of the seven that supported the project:
BLOCKING AND DELAYING THIS IS HURTING FLORIDA’S FUTURE WE WILL IN 5 YEARS HAVE OVER 155 MILLION VISITORS PER YEAR AND WITHOUT HIGH SPEED TRAINS AND TRANSIT WE ARE STILL IN THE CAVEMAN DAYS HERE IN FLORIDA!!! SAME WITH OUR ANCIENT ELECTRIC GRID!
Why would all these people be opposed to this improvement in mass transit and reduction in traffic problems? Simple, because Indian River County wants these travelers to stop in their towns and spend their money- We call it ECONOMIC SELF INTEREST- But this is not in the best interests of the vast majority of Floridians nor our guests that wish to visit both Central Florida’s attractions and South Florida’s tropical beaches and metropolitan business and entertainment offerings! DEFEAT this effort that runs contrary to all but a minority of Floridians that may see some impacts to their tourism but benefits all the rest of us and our guests!
And then someone posted this image of Governor Rick Scott:
Then there are these images that came to us from this email:
“Tom, a resident of Sebastian has spent a great deal of time putting together anti-train images (he’s an artist).
I thought I’d pass these along and see if you could use them.
He would be happy to have you share them.”
P. Michael Reininger, president, All Aboard Florida
All Aboard Florida has not issued a news release since this one on November 9, 2015: