Experience of a Swiss Railway User
As a Swiss snowbird coming to Vero Beach since more than 40 years I am shocked to read the news about the "All board Florida" - nightmare. As a citizen of the country with one of the best public transport systems in the world, I can only warn the population living near the tracks that their life will change drastically to the worse if the project should be realized. The noise of a train approaching and passing with more than 100 miles per hour wakes up everybody sleeping and frightens children, elderly people and animals. In a way it sounds like a jet plane passing at low altitude. In Vero Beach I fear that the many restaurants at 14th Avenue would have to close as guests would not be pleased to be disturbed by the noise of the passing trains. The whistling of the trains is also disagreeable but less frightening than the passing trains.
The experience of most railways - including the Swiss - is that they are often in deficit. The taxpayer has to cover regularly the hole in the accounts. So it is inconceivable that federal or state funding should help start this monster which has little effect on the ecology as the number of cars on the roads will be reduced only marginally.
By the way in Switzerland the construction of secure crossings and noise barriers is a task of the railway corporation and not of the town or county. I do not mention the danger of train derailments in towns. Experience shows that such accidents can cause up to hundreds of killed people living in the neighborhood. So I hope that a massive movement of opposition will form and that the politicians in Florida will fight this project with all their might.
Sebastian Schmid, Vero Beach