ALL ABOARD FLORIDA TO INCREASE RAIL TRAFFIC, FOIL EMERGENCY RESPONDERS, SAYS CARE, FL.
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Citizens Against Rail Expansion (CARE FL) and Jupiter Medical Center said Tuesday that All Aboard Florida could potentially stop emergency responders in their tracks.
About 50 Palm Beach County residents and policymakers gathered in a public meeting at the hospital to discuss negative effects they say the Orlando-Miami rail service will have by passing through the area daily, including the possibility of ambulances having to wait at train stops during emergencies.
Dr. Michael Collins, medical director of emergency services at Jupiter Medical Center, held up a stop watch in eight seconds of silence in front of the crowd to demonstrate the time issues he believes All Aboard Florida may pose to first responders.
"Seconds do count in the world of critical care," Collins said in his address to the crowd. "All Aboard Florida needs to explain what their plan is for critical care."
CARE FL and other speakers said that draw bridges leading to Jupiter Medical Center would be up, impeding traffic, for nine hours a day.
However, John Couris, president and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center said the hospital has not yet conducted a study to determine whether emergency traffic to the center would be impacted.
"We haven’t done a hard and fast analysis of seconds at the track," Couris said.
Bertha Matics, a nurse and realtor of Palm Beach County, said that All Aboard Florida will negatively affect both of her industries despite the estimated $164 million in economic impact to the county through 2021.
"There are more negatives than there are positives," she said. "It's already affecting real estate. A lot of people are not wanting to purchase where they can hear a train. It’s [going to] affect first responders ... and marine life. It’s not good for northern Palm Beach County."
Judith Goldenberg from the Club at Admiral's Cove in Jupiter and a representative of CARE FL said the organization has hired Washington D.C. Attorney Steve Ryan who will continue lobbying in Tallahassee on behalf of the organization to get All Aboard Florida to change its plans in Palm Beach County.