Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 9:45am

Martin County officials on Monday took aim at a draft federal study evaluating the impacts of the All Aboard Florida rail project, saying that the study grossly underestimated the number of boats that travel passed the St. Lucie River railroad bridge each day.

Martin County said an 11-month tally of vessel traffic in the St. Lucie River found 8,400 boats transited the Florida East Coast Railway Bascule Bridge in April. The number is 83 percent higher than the tally that was included in a draft version federal environmental study released in September — a finding an attorney representing Martin County called “alarming.”

“This new data is alarming, as it indicates the expected increase in bridge closures due to the AAF project is a far more serious a problem, due to the larger number of vessels transiting the River in that area,” said Martin County legal counsel Steve Ryan. Ryan represents Martin County on its All Aboard Florida litigation. “We believe this is yet another indication the DEIS is flawed, the boat counts are understated and as such, does not provide an accurate depiction of the negative impacts that AAF will have in Martin County."