How sad for Martin County residents that their commissioners can’t keep them safe since they took the train bribe. Eighteen people have been killed on the Florida East Coast Railway corridor by trains operated by Virgin Trains U.S. since testing began 20 short months ago and their commissioners remain silent.
A recent report from the Florida Legislature revealed passenger rail in the state is the deadliest in the country — with 3.5 times the national average of fatalities. Most alarming, Virgin Trains will rip through parts of their county at 110 mph while there are no enforceable regulations governing trains going 80 to 125 mph. They remain silent.
The report recommends sealed corridor treatments like vehicle detection systems and enforcement cameras be used, but Virgin won’t install them, the Florida Department of Transportation won’t require them, and the commissioners remain silent.
Virgin Trains’ financial and business plans make no mention of any additional stops. They must get to Orlando in 3-and-one-quarter hours — they can’t afford the time or money for stops. But the commissioners took that bribe and remain silent.
Nowhere in the world do higher speed trains share tracks with liquefied natural gas. Nowhere in the world do higher speed trains cross 150 streets at grade, but they remain silent.
I even came to their meeting to let them and you know about the study findings and dangers coming your way and they cut my words from the meeting video … now even we must be silent!
Gov. Ron DeSantis said, "Be bold to protect the safety of our communities." We are asking him to be bold and make them safe, but while people are dying around us, Martin's commissioners won’t ask. They say silence is golden, but, sadly, in the case of Martin County, it was bought with gold.
We won’t forget and we won’t be silent.
Susan Mehiel, of Vero Beach, is the coordinator of Florida Alliance for Safe Trains.
Photo: Virgin Trains