CONCERN OVER BRIGHTLINE PROMPTS LAWMAKERS TO CONSIDER RAIL REGULATIONS

Publish Date: 
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 9:30am

Original article posted by Jennifer Sorentrue of PalmBeachPost.com

A House panel on Wednesday got its first look at Senator Mayfield's bill, the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act, to regulate All Aboard Florida's Brightline passenger train service.

The Transportation & Infrastructure subcommittee spent about an hour listening to rail experts weigh in on the proposal. This act would establish minimum safety standards for high-speed rail, including Positive Train Control and Remote Health Monitoring safety technology. This would also ensure that AAF and Brightline would be responsible for the cost of safety upgrades at railroad crossings.

"Because you are going to be running trains at 110 miles per hour, this is a risk that doesn't exist now, and this is something that everyone needs to be concerned about," said George Gavalla, a rail safety consultant for Florida Martin and Indian River counties.

All Aboard Florida General Counsel Myles Tobin was there, as well. He told the subcommittee that the bill, if approved, would add tens of millions of dollars to its price tag. He also comment that fencing requirements alone would cost as much as $65 million and the company would have to spend $6 million a year to maintain the fencing.

Martin County Fire Rescue Division Chief Daniel Wouters also stated that crews are delayed as many as 140 times a year at rail crossing. Increasing the number of trains would only add to the delays.

This is already starting as a heated debate - only time will tell what will become of Mayfield's bill.

Learn more about the bill at http://bit.ly/2lzne0r