Publish Date: 
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 1:30pm

Train Wreck Times - Announcements and Notes:

Please see the attached announcement about our event, Stopping the Trains – A Public Forum, to be held April 9th, Monday, 5:30 pm at the Elks Club in Vero Beach.  It’s open to the public and Commissioner Solari and others will be there to provide an update on the Train wars.  Be sure to let your friends and neighbors know that this is an excellent way to stay informed and get your questions answered.

Another Train Derailment:

Two freight trains collided early Sunday morning in Kentucky.  Nearby residents were evacuated because hazardous materials were believed to be the cargo of at least one of the trains.  How many train accidents does that make for 2018 and it’s only March?

Although many will say this was a freight train accident, not passenger, we say – put passengers on one of the trains and Liquefied Natural Gas on the other and you’ll have catastrophic damages.  And that’s just exactly what Fortress Investment Group’s energy companies plan to do with the FECR line.  An update from Kentucky is linked here:

Making the Trains a Campaign Issue:

When the ‘administrative state’ at the federal and state levels of government care more about policy preferences and corporate money rather than the lives and livelihoods of citizens, it’s time to deploy our only weapon – elected officials who are on our side.

Ø  It took our elected officials to gain access to communications between the Federal Railroad Administration and the Florida Dept. of Transportation – PUBLIC information – to find that all parties have known FDOT is the agency responsible for enforcing safety standards for rail in our state.

Ø  It took our elected officials to point out that FDOT has been shirking its duty and has not created safety regulations for HSR passenger service OR hazardous materials, which is their statutory responsibility.

Ø  It took our elected officials to start the arduous process of getting legislation passed which will require that FDOT develop standards and regulations regarding railroads.

Ø  It took our elected officials to file a lawsuit against the US DOT challenging their approval of the Private Activity Bonds for AAF and demanding that the US DOT meet the Nat’l Environmental Protection Act standards for impact analysis and mitigation of a project this size.

Based on this information, it is obvious that the elected representatives of WE THE PEOPLE are our last line of defense against a project that should have never gotten off the drawing board.  We know that the last Washington, DC administration was keen to see mass transit developed everywhere as a part of their Green agenda and what better way than under the guise of a privately funded enterprise?  We know that the current Governor was privy to the plans of the corporations’ for doubled freight capacity and the use of new passenger service to justify it.  We know that officials in other counties have been bought off for their support.

With the elections coming this summer and fall, it’s time to hold your candidates’ feet to the fire about their plans to protect the voters.  A recent example:  our support of IRC Commissioner Zorc in the 2016 elections.  Tim was an incumbent and had a number of well-connected and well-funded opponents.  At least two of them stated they believed ‘enough taxpayer money’ had been spent on the train fight.  They wouldn’t commit either way on additional funding but made it clear they had other priorities for the county’s (taxpayers’) funds.

If we hadn’t supported Commissioner Zorc, asked the questions at candidate forums and encouraged our readers to vote for him and he failed to keep the seat – would the county have filed the most recent challenge in US District Court?  Would we trust our officials to do everything in their power to stop this nightmare?

We are pleased to report that Congressman DeSantis, FL gubernatorial candidate, is staunchly against the trains.  (His home district would be directly impacted if AAF gets its wish to run all the way to Jacksonville.)  Congressman Mast continues to support our efforts in Washington as does Congressman Posey.

If you live in St. Lucie County, you need to make the trains a campaign issue in your city and county races.  Our Martin County team members need to do the same.  It’s important we don’t lose the momentum we’ve developed over the last few years.  If you have any questions about how to make this happen or need our support in any way, please get back to us and we’ll do whatever we can including attending fundraisers and rallies for your Stop The Train candidates!

On that note – We are available to speak at community POA/HOA meetings, civic organizations and the like.  Have Power Point – will Travel!  We are always looking for ways to get the facts out about the destruction AAF will cause.

And never forget – It’s NOT A DONE DEAL!

Susan Mehiel

Original article was written by Susan Mehiel. You can contact her by phone at 828-696-5369.