How much is too much? When it comes to traffic congestion, noise pollution, and assaults on public safety and the quality of life in coastal communities, the proposed All Aboard Florida passenger rail project may take the cake.
For more than a year, the Florida Coalition for Preservation has watched and participated in the sparring match between a powerful investment partnership proposing 16 daily express passenger train round trips on FEC right of way from Miami to Orlando, versus well-organized citizen opposition groups representing neighborhoods most affected by the plan.
Let’s be serious here. South Florida owes its very identity to Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway and the “build it and they will come” mantra.
The railroad was built long before most of the roads that cross it. We’ve come to accept the loss of passenger service in favor of freight trains, and we reluctantly endure blasting horns and 2-mile-long freight trains lumbering through the center of our cities. As the economy improves, and the Panama Canal widens, more freight trains will be heading north from PortMiami throughout the day and night.
But what about All Aboard Florida? We are told that 32 daily passenger trips will share the FEC tracks from Miami to Cocoa. A new line will be built from Cocoa to Orlando. Speeds will range from 80 mph (downtown) to 110 mph on open stretches. The system will traverse 340 grade crossings; that’s 22,000 double arms raised and lowered in a single day.
There are only four stations: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. Tickets may cost $100 per person.
To support All Aboard Florida, here is what one has to believe: (1) that AAF can become the only profitable passenger railroad in America; or (2), if it fails, that the taxpayers will not be on the hook; (3) that municipalities will figure out a way to deal with grade crossings, especially as related to emergency response times; (4) that marine traffic will be able to accommodate bridge closures of nine to 12 daily in daylight hours; (5) that funds will be available for up to $100,000 per crossing for upgrades and quiet zones, and (6) that the considerable real estate investments at station locations require AAF approval to be viable.
Dubious assumptions, at best.
The Florida Coalition believes that The Coastal Star readers should have the opportunity to be heard on this project.
We are asking local commissions to consider resolutions urging restraint on the part of government and regulatory authorities with respect to the passenger line.
Safety issues must be addressed. Where infrastructure investments outside of FEC property are required, funds should be identified in local and state capital plans. Technology may have a role. We have to coordinate traffic patterns at drawbridge openings, super developments like Atlantic Crossing and train crossings, or we will all choke.

Robert Ganger
Chairman, Florida Coalition for Preservation

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Email me when people reply –


  • People have ASSUMED that the high speed trains will be running on the tracks next to the freeway and it would not affect them. 

    The reality is that 3 to 4 trains hourly will be on the tracks paralleling FEDERAL HIGHWAY at 80 to 110 mph.  There will be 32 passenger high speed trips and approximately 20 freight trains (they will be travelling at higher speeds)  for 55 crossings a day on 100+year old tracks..

    This is a dangerous situation for our heavily populated areas.   It will affect emergency responses, traffic congestion, and our quality of life..

This reply was deleted.