Merrill Snyder - www.tcpalm.com
(Merrill serves on the Board of Directors for the Guardians of Martin County/Citizens Against The Train)
Rich Campbell originally opposed All Aboard Florida. Like most people on the Treasure Coast, he deplored the idea of 32 passenger trains roaring through our communities every day. Now he suggests in article after article that it's time to surrender. How do we know when to quit, Rich?
It's true AAF continues to promote modern stations, sleek, colorful trains and even the sale of alcohol. But the stations are in renderings. The trains are "shell" cars. And the booze awaits a permit as do 17 other AAF activities. All Aboard Florida has yet to sell any of their private activity bonds nine months after they were approved by the Florida Development Finance Corp. Now AAF is pushing for a federal loan again because the bond market continues to resist high risk instruments. Simply put, AAF does not have the money it needs.
Campbell says the handwriting's on the wall. But the money's not in the till, the permits are yet to be issued (despite some $3 million spent in Tallahassee lobbying) and the promised start date of 2017 is only nine months away.
Is the threat to Treasure Coast quality of life any less? Has AAF really considered other options such as going west? Is there some hidden reason why the record of decision on the final environmental impact statement has not been issued?
We shouldn't wave a white flag as long as we still have a chance to stop All Aboard Florida. Because the trains will change our lives on the Treasure Coast forever. Imagine if Winston Churchill had decided the other guys simply had too many bombs.