All Aboard Florida

BRIGHTLINE AT RISK OF MISSING SAFETY DEADLINE, FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION SAYS

BRIGHTLINE AND FLORIDA EAST COAST ARE "AT RISK" OF NOT MEETING DEADLINES FOR INSTALLING SAFETY UPGRADES, the Federal Railroad Administration says. The safety upgrades, known as Positive Train Control (PTC), were planned to be implemented by the time Brightline began service in early 2018. The last report (which was the last quarter of 2017) indicated that only a fraction of the systems were installed.

FEC DEATH TOLL SHOULD TRIGGER RAIL SAFETY MEASURES | OPINION ARTICLE

SURELY OUR FLORIDA POLITICIANS WILL BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT OUR SAFETY THAN THE OWNER OF THE FEC FREIGHT COMPANY, says Nicholas Schaus of Vero Beach. Schaus comments on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) lack of transparency regarding the number of train collision fatalities have been reported since 2015 and applauds to Florida legislators Mayfield, Grall, and Magar for trying to pass their safety bills. 

BRIGHTLINE'S PRIVATE-ACTIVITY BONDS IN PERIL, BUT PHASE 2 CONSTRUCTION NEARING

BRIGHTLINE HAS UNTIL MAY 31 TO SELL THE $1.15 BILLION OF PRIVATE-ACTIVITY BONDS FOR PHASE 2 OF ITS PASSENGER RAILROAD BUT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A SALE IN SIGHT. This deadline was set by the U.S. Department of Transporation when it approved the bonds December 22.

BRIGHTLINE WILL PLACE UNDUE HARDSHIP ON TREASURE COAST | GUEST COLUMN

THE MARTIN COUNTY REALTORS OF THE TREASURE COAST APPLAUDS THE RECENT LEGAL ACTIONS BY MARTIN COUNTY, says Martin County REALTORS president H.B. Warren. Since the earliest stages of All Aboard Florida's plans to provide passenger rail, the Martin County Realtors organization has carefully examined the project's implications to property values and select infrastructure and expressed their concerns regarding safety, delays, diminishing waterfront home values and negatively impacting Martin County's ad valorem budget.

BRIGHTLINE WILL PAY FOR SOME CROSSING MAINTENANCE - BUT NOT ON THE TREASURE COAST

BRIGHTLINE WILL PAY FOR SOME CROSSING MAINTENANCE BUT NOT ON THE TREASURE COAST. In an attempt to strong-arm local governments, Brightline stated it will pay for pricey crossing maintenance for some communities that have not opposed its project - this could cost Martin and Indian River counties up to $20 million by 2030, according to court documents.

FLORIDA MAN STRUCK, KILLED BY TRAIN WHILE WEARING EARPHONES

VALRICO, FL - DUSTIN R. PIERCE WAS STUCK AND KILLED SATURDAY BY A CSX TRAIN. Pierce crossed the tracks and did not see the crossing arms because he was using his cellphone with earphones, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The highway was closed for two hours, WTSP reported.

Read more here.

MAN HIT, KILLED BY TRAIN IN FLORIDA

VALRICO, FL - A PEDESTRIAN HAS BEEN HIT AND KILLED BY A TRAIN, authorities say. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the crash occurred early Saturday morning, and the man died at the scene.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Read more here.

BRIGHTLINE TRAINS LOOK EMPTY? PB POST COUNTS HOW MANY WERE ON BOARD

BRIGHTLINE'S SERVICE HAS BEEN TOUTED AS "A MODEL FOR THE FURNITURE OF PASSENGER RAIL" BUT THE TRAIN CARS ARE RATHER EMPTY, the Palm Beach Post reports. Over a six-week period, a dozen of Palm Beach Post reporters rode 44 randomly selected trains and counted how many people on board. On average, 50 riders took the trains reviewed by The Post, enough to fill about 20 percent of the seats.

76 TRAIN DEATHS IN 3 YEARS - FLORIDA EAST COAST RAILROAD IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN REPORTED

TRESPASSING FATALITIES ON THE FLORIDA EAST COAST TRACKS IN SOUTH FLORIDA HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS AN "EPIDEMIC" AND 2018 MAY BE THE WORST. From 2015, at least 76 deaths by Brightline passenger trains and Florida East Coast Railway freight trains have occurred. This includes 19 in 2015, 26 in 2016, 23 in 2017, and 8 within the first four months of 2018.

This comprehensive data shows significantly more deaths than the Federal Railroad Administration's public data due to "certain suicide reporting restrictions intended to safeguard privacy."

DOES BRIGHTLINE QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL BONDS? TAXPAYERS DESERVE AN ANSWER!

U.S. SENATOR MARCO RUBIO, AS WELL AS MANY TREASURE COAST RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS, WANT TO KNOW IF BRIGHTLINE QUALIFIES FOR FEDERAL TAX-EXEMPT BONDS. Rubio sent a letter this week to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao seeking clarification, saying "it is critical that the utmost transparency is provided to taxpayers" and that Brightline "has raised questions regarding whether federal financing was appropriately used."