Promising intercity passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando, All Aboard Florida has generated a great deal of opposition in recent months. Recognizing that it is essential that any major infrastructure projects be compatible with the areas that they impact, 1000 Friends of Florida has identified significant concerns related to the segment between West Palm Beach and Cocoa Beach.
In response to the September 2014 draft Environmental Impact Statement for this segment of the project, 1000 Friends has identified objections related to impacts on the marine industry, emergency vehicle operators, wildlife, Community Redevelopment Areas including minority populations, and property values. Additionally, 1000 Friends noted that the EIS is supposed to identify viable alternative routes, which was not done in this draft document. 1000 Friends has shared these concerns in its preliminary May 28, 2014 and October 27, 2014 comment letters and final November 28, 2014 comment letter on the Draft EIS, and has provided similar input at public hearings held on the proposal.
The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) provided a formal opportunity to review and evaluate projects’ environmental and quality of life impacts. Given the shortage of data in the draft EIS, it is not possible to properly assess the impacts on adjoining communities, explains 1000 Friends President Ryan Smart. The Federal Railroad Administration will now review the comments on the draft EIS and then release the final statement.
On Monday, April 20, the Florida Development Finance Corporation held a public hearing in Tallahassee regarding the issuance of bonds to assist with financing All Aboard Florida. 1000 Friends attended the hearing and submitted this comment letter urging that the bond not be issued due to extensive unresolved community impacts.
1000 Friends will remain engaged on this issue and provide more information as it comes available.