THE TOWN OF JUPITER JUST SCREAMED, STOP THAT TRAIN!

Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 4:30pm

The town council unanimously voted Tuesday to oppose issuing the bonds needed to build the controversial All Aboard Florida railroad between Orlando and Miami. They join Tequesta, Jupiter Island, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie in their opposition

“The AAF proposal, as it stands, provides no benefits to the town of Jupiter and only results in safety risks and costs to the community,” according to the letter from the council dated May 20 addressed to the Florida Development Finance Corporation board of directors.

Saying All Aboard Florida presents “risks that are unacceptable,” the Jupiter town council Tuesday unanimously voted to oppose issuing the bonds needed to build the railroad between Orlando and Miami.

AAF officials have countered that the project will create jobs, boost tax revenue to local communities and reduce traffic on Florida roadways. AAF officials say they will make improvements to rail bridges to make the spans safer.

Other communities have also voted to oppose AAF. They include Tequesta, Jupiter Island, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie.

Opposition from the communities might not make a difference. AAF officials said last week they would move forward with the railroad even if the bonds are not issued.

“(Eliminating the bonds) would make the project more expensive and delay its progress, but the project will go forward nonetheless,” AAF said in papers filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in response to a lawsuit filed to stop the railroad financing.

Ideas to boost safety and lessen the impact of AAF are being considered.

One is requiring AAF to overhaul bridges to make them raise and lower more efficiently. All Aboard Florida plans call for upgrades and a double track on the Loxahatchee River bridge to allow two trains to pass at the same time.

Also, the Jupiter Inlet District last month presented a plan to increase the 4-foot clearance below the river bridge so that 89 percent of boats could pass under when the 90-year-old bridge is lowered for trains to go over the span.

Another proposal calls for requiring a bridge tender to be at the spans at the Loxahatchee River, the New River bridge in Fort Lauderdale and the St. Lucie bridge.

“We are all about building a safe and convenient commuter rail system,” said Ali Soule, AAF public affairs manager.