St. Lucie County officials preparing objection to All Aboard Florida

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 12:15pm

By Nicole Rodriguez, TCPalm

After weeks of combing through a 522-page federal review of All Aboard Florida, county officials will formalize their criticism of the report, concluding the high speed passenger train will destroy the quality of life for the county’s estimated 286,000 residents.

Commissioners slammed the report for being incomplete and omitting key information on the negative effects the project will have on the county. The report released Sept. 19 ignored the fact that the county will receive all the impacts from the project, but none of the benefits, commissioners and county staff said.

Commission Chair Paula Lewis said the report ignored the county and the rest of the Treasure Coast.

The formal response will take several days to compose, said Planning and Development Services Director Mark Satterlee, whose staff has already compiled a 25-page report of its own outlining issues with the EIS. The county’s vote follows in the footsteps of Martin and Indian River counties, which approved similar measures regarding the report this week

The project will devastate private businesses and the city marina in downtown Fort Pierce, where the proposed rail would run, he said.

“There’s almost no mitigation in the document because they haven’t looked at what the impacts are,” Satterlee said.

The governing body also discussed the possibility of drafting a letter to the state’s senators and members of Congress to ask for help finding a federal loophole that could potentially stop the train dead in its tracks. The commission also plans to ask the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to weigh in on environmental concerns.

Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky, who called the report “propaganda,” suggested calling on the Coast Guard for input on the marine industry.

“We should be asking for an official report from the Coast Guard on boating issues,” Dzadovsky said.