The announcement of the public comment meetings comes after Murphy met with Coast Guard Rear Admiral John H. Korn in July to express his opposition to the high-speed rail and made a formal request for the Coast Guard to hold hearings so the public can explain the project’s impact on maritime traffic, commerce, and safety.
The Coast Guard will also conduct a navigation survey on the effect of rail traffic on the Loxahatchee, St. Lucie, and New Rivers.
“With the proposition of 32 additional trains crossing the Loxahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers via draw bridges that are almost a century old, AAF stands to create major problems on the water backing up recreational boats, harming marine businesses, and delaying emergency vehicles by causing frequent closures,” Murphy said in a statement released today about the meetings. “It is imperative that business owners, boaters, and emergency personnel have their concerns heard so that the Coast Guard may evaluate how best to ensure the continued navigability of our waterways.”
Florida East Coast Industries CEO Vince Signorello appears on CNBC to tout All Aboard Florida project
Signorello said tourists and state residents make roughly a half a billion trips each year between Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. All Aboard Florida’s express trains can move those passengers more quickly, shaving about an hour off of the time it takes to drive from Miami to Orlando.
“It is the math that makes it work,” Signorello said Wednesday on the network’s morning talk program, Squawk Box.
Signorello said about 40 percent of All Aboard’s riders are expected to be tourists.
“The balance is split between local people moving around the State of Florida and business people,” he told the network.
When asked whether it would be cheaper and easier for families to travel by car, Signorello said: “The economics work better for smaller groups.”
But Signorello noted that many tourists are willing to spend a little extra to save time and be more productive while they travel.
“When you think about the people moving between Miami and Orlando, particularly the tourists, there is a level of affluence that allows them to get on the train and trade their time and productivity for dollars,” Signorello said.
All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 passenger trains a day between Miami and Orlando on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. Miami-to-West Palm Beach service is expected to begin in late 2016 with the Orlando leg starting in 2017.
In a tweet Sunday, All Aboard Florida officials said to expect “lots of news this week about the project.”
An environmental impact statement addressing the effect the project could have on areas north of West Palm Beach has yet to be released.