By Rich Campbell TCPalm
Come to think of it, “nothing” summarizes the help Treasure Coast residents received from state officials with respect to the environmental impact statement. The Federal Railroad Administration, which is overseeing the project, set a Dec. 3 deadline for all comments on the draft environmental impact statement. The FRA received more than 12,000 comments — many of them from Treasure Coast residents — by the deadline. The deadline came and went, but the FRA received no official response from the state. Six weeks after the deadline, the state still hasn’t submitted comments on the environmental impact statement. Thankfully, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is coordinating the state’s response, is still “reviewing” All Aboard Florida’s environmental impact statement, according to DEP spokeswoman Dee Ann Miller.
Comments on the All Aboard Florida environmental impact statement from the state departments of Transportation, Fish and Wildlife and Environmental Protection could be discarded due to the missed deadline.
There may not be a next time for Treasure Coast residents concerned about the multiple potential impacts from All Aboard Florida: delays at train crossings and railroad bridges; noise and vibration; public safety; costs to local governments and other issues that could make this project a lose-lose proposition for Treasure Coast residents.
The next environmental impact statement issued by the Federal Railroad Administration will be “final,” denoting there is nothing that can be done to alter the disagreeable aspects of the project.