Congressman Warns About Dangerous Problems New Passenger Train Will Cause





The new passenger train called All Aboard Florida might just be the best thing that ever happened to Southeast Florida.

Or it might be the worst thing.

This train has potential for affecting the lives of millions along the Gold Coast who never asked for All Aboard Florida.

It will generate traffic jams, delay emergency vehicles and tie up our waterways.

Now is the time to ask tough questions about this project….before it is too late.

Don’t expect the downtown Fort Lauderdale crowd and their lackies in city hall to ask questions. They are too enamored with the idea of a railroad (and the development it will generate along its right-of-way) to even ask the most simple questions.

Questions such as:

How is the community going to handle 32 trains-a-day, which will up traffic and waterways from Miami to Cocoa?

How are we going to protect taxpayers when All Aboard Florida gets a $1.5 billion loan from the government?

Me, I want to hear the answers to those questions. 

So does Florida Democratic U. S. Congressman Patrick Murphy.

Murphy, along with Democratic U. S. Congresswoman Lois Frankel, want assurances that some of the potential problems caused by the train has solutions.

Murphy should be congratulated.  He is the first one to raise questions about the train deal.

Here is his news release:






Washington, Apr 9

Today, U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) sent the following letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx urging the Department to require All Aboard Florida (AAF) to address serious community concerns with the pending rail project before considering AAF’s application for a federal loan.

This letter follows a meeting the two had on Monday, where the Congressman shared with the Secretary the concerns received by over 500 members of the community. The rail project would connect Miami and Orlando, but has no stops planned north of West Palm Beach along the Treasure Coast.


April 9, 2014

Anthony Foxx
, Secretary of Transportation 

Dear Secretary Foxx:

Thank you for meeting with me to discuss my constituents’ concerns regarding Florida East Coast Industries’ All Aboard Florida (AAF) passenger rail project. AAF stands to have a detrimental impact on the quality of life of residents from the Palm Beaches through the Treasure Coast, and it is essential that the Department of Transportation appropriately weigh AAF’s benefits to its private owners against the safety, economy, and livability of the communities it impacts.

While AAF should boost tourism and business in Florida’s biggest cities, it will likely delay emergency vehicles, create traffic jams, raise noise pollution, and block waterways along hundreds of miles of tracks.

In addition, AAF may force Florida towns and cities on already-tight budgets to foot the bill for quiet crossings and future maintenance.

I urge the Department to require AAF to completely address the above concerns before considering approving AAF’s application for a Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan. Specifically, I request that the Department require that Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) work with neighboring municipalities, counties, the state, the federal government, and other businesses to:

1)      Install safety equipment necessary to meet maximum FRA safety guidelines along the FECI line and at grade crossings;

2)      Share financial responsibility for quiet zones and ongoing maintenance at grade crossings in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

3)      Share financial responsibility for bridge upgrades to speed the raising and lowering of drawbridges, and widen bride pilings to allow two-way boat traffic to pass.

4)      Structure the new AAF train schedule to avoid significantly delaying emergency vehicles at grade crossings, worsening surrounding road traffic, and unduly congesting our waterways by blocking maritime traffic at drawbridges;

5)      Move freight traffic from the FECI railroad to the adjacent CSX line before AAF passenger service begins to balance the number of trains on the FECI line and to prevent the time that waterways and roads are blocked.

6)      Demonstrate that AAF’s passenger service is a financially sound investment in and of itself, and that AAF will be able to make timely debt payments on the potential federal loan after operating and maintenance expenses; and

7)      Publish publicly an economic impact study describing the positive and negative effects to commerce, property values, tax revenues, real estate sales, and tourism specifically in the 18th congressional district of Florida.

I understand that AAF will be providing you with its plans to address these matters, and I hope you will make this information publicly available as you receive it. Thank you once again for taking the time to discuss the concerns of Treasure Coast and Palm Beach residents. I look forward to working with you to address these issues.


Patrick E. Murphy



23 Responses to “Congressman Warns About Dangerous Problems New Passenger Train Will Cause”

  1. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    It’s the old MetroFail scam all over again. They lied about the numbers and the cost and they’re lying now.

    Does anyone by now not know that transit never breaks even? It always runs an operating deficit and the shlemiel taxpayers always pay.

  2. Alice McGill says:

    Another blog reports that several cities, including Dania Beach, will not be included in the “quiet zones” unless the cities throw in some cash to make that happen. Dania Beach is a city that will be heavily impacted with noise from jets using the new south runway, especially in the western part of the city and the NE part of the city near the new casino. Railroad tracks, old and new, will run through the center of the city. This is one issue that should be addressed by the leadership in Dania Beach. The mayor is a member of the MPO. Maybe he will take a stand for residents this time instead of just the big bucks people. Quality of life is important to many who live and work in all of Broward.

  3. count lf chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Charlotte greenbarg continues to misrepresent the background and history of public issues. From the roman post of 44 BC to s bahns u bahns railroads trolleys today public transportation like highways are provided at money loosing basis because real estate and sales taxes are greatly increased by the increased business and real estate upgrades.
    there are vacant and slum properties both residential and commercial at all abroad Florida or enlarging ports and airports will revive. I mean new York city would be ten blocks below wall street if the charlotte greenbargs were listened to.

  4. just wait says:

    this will only enhance the property values of everything west of I-95
    the lure of ‘downtown’ business centers if east of I-95 will be discovered to be a mirage

    The “Complete Streets” will be a joke because even on foot you have to wait for the trains

  5. Sue Gunzburger says:

    Also to be considered is how will emergency vehicles take residents, visitors, etc. living east of the FEC tracks to area hospitals, which are west of the tracks? How many lives will be lost with all the extra trains? There are very few over -passes on those tracks, unlike the tri-rail tracks.

  6. Sam The Sham says:

    Buddy, you write they are seeking “Loan guarantees” while Murphy says “Loan”. They are not the same things so which is it?

    If the project is good it won’t need public financing.

    Most of Murphy’s request are reasonable. Some are just trying to milk the cow for more freebies from a cash cow.

  7. Seth Platt says:

    Thousands of other communities around the world have figured out how to coexist with rail. I think Florida can tackle this issue. I would personally like to be able to take the train to Miami or Palm Beach. Traffic congestion is a far worse problem in South Florida for Commuters than the minor inconvenience of a short passenger train.


    You can take the train NOW to Miami or Palm Beach. It’s called TriRail.

    The biggest secret about Tri Rail is how much it cost: Well over $1 billion to purchase the tracks, double track the route, buy the cars, hire staff, improve stations….shall I go on. It continues to run a deficit and will forever, like every transit system. Meanwhile, relative few of South Florida’s millions get out of their cars to ride it.

    The second biggest secret about Tri Rail is the income levels of the riders. The ridership, according to their own survey, skews decidedly low and low-middle income, must like the bus system. This is not a bad thing. But they don’t talk about it, probably so they don’t alienate the bulk of the taxpayers who fund the system.

    I again pose the question: What happens to all the improvements taxpayers already funded on the CSX tracks (which the state bought), if the commuter rail is moved east?

  8. Duke says:

    Seth Platt is exactly right. Many communities all over the world have figured it out.

    South Florida is way behind in public transportation. Our leaders lack the vision to come up with adequate solutions on how to move large masses of people from one point to another. Our roads are inadequately designed, out traffic lights are ill timed, and we lack adequate rail service.

    There should be a sleek looking, elevated high speed light rail right down the center of 441 from Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach to the Golden Glades Interchange at the Dade County line. It would run along a mostly business corridor and a lot of folks would utilize it. It would ease a lot of congestion on State Road 7 from Palm Beach to Dade County.

    Our Governor screwed up bad when he didn’t take all that federal money for the bullet train. Now, there’s going to be a bullet train from L.A. to San Francisco, but not one from Miami to Orlando and Tampa.

    We live in one of the most populated states in America which also happens to have one of the smallest land masses, and we’re tourist based. Yet, very few if any political leaders have even attempted to make light rail and bullet trains an initiative.

    When is Florida going to come out of the dark ages and start being on the cutting edge? When are we going to have true leaders who have vision and foresight rather than a whats in it for me mentality?

    You think traffic is bad now? Imagine what it will be in 20 years. And there-in lies the problem. Nobody is really concerned what it will be like in 20 years.

    Come on folks. Get vision. Get some foresight. Get an idea of where we will be in 20 or 30 years. Get some ideas. Get something done.


    They had plans for a rail on 441. Voters wouldn’t pay for it….probably because they won’t use it.

    It is hard to get Floridians to pay for transit they won’t use when their are so many other needs — education, health care, etc.

    Yes there are many communities with big transit systems. Many were built years ago or are in areas with a larger tax base.

    Buses make more sense in a place that is so spread out. Who is going to take a train? Who commutes between downtown Miami to Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach?
    I would bet more people work in Sunrise/Plantation around the Sawgrass than work on downtown Fort Lauderdale. Money should be given the bus transit system to cut down on the time between buses, then more people might use them. And while they are at it, put wi-fi on the buses like all the new cars have.

  9. Seth Platt says:

    I live on the East side of Broward.
    How many buses or secondary transportation methods would I need to take to get from Downtown Fort Lauderdale to go to a Miami Heat Game or out to dinner in Del Ray Beach using tri rail or buses? And how long would it take? It is impractical. More people are moving toward the urban centers of our Cities on the coast especially young people who choose not to own a car and they deserve transportation options other than the congestion of I-95.
    I think both rails should and could co-exist, and additional light rail options should be made available.


    Light rail is being made available in downtown Fort Lauderdale. For something like $100 million and endless yearly expenses for maintenance and employees. Property owners in other parts of Broward — most of the property owners — are paying for a light rail system in downtown we will never use.

    We both know why it is being built, Mr. Platt. It allows developers to build higher with more units per acre. So I’m paying for a project that enrich a bunch of wealthy downtown land owners and developers.

    Few people choose not to own a car in South Florida. Maybe with the low salaries and the high rents here, they can’t afford a car.

    Metrorail is the largest fixed rail transit system in Florida with roughly 28 miles of track and almost two dozen stations. It goes to downtown Miami, the Jackson medical complex, Dadeland area, South Dade and various museums, the University of Miami and connects with the Metromover through downtown. Started in the 1908s, it cost many billions and no doubt would cost double or triple today.

    The system is a classic case of promises made to the public that were not fulfilled. It doesn’t have the ridership that was promised. It runs a huge deficit. A 1/2 penny sales tax passed in 2002 that was supposed to pay to expand the system was largely frittered away on maintenance, huge salaries and other things. Only 2.4 miles was built new, to the airport.

    Most of all, not many ride it despite that it goes to many traffic generating places. It gets between 72,000-80,000 daily. Ronald Reagan was right when he said the government could have bought every rider a Cadillac and save a lot of taxes. That’s why the system’s nickname is MetroFail.

    A system as elaborate as Metrorail is not going to happen in Broward in my lifetime…or in yours. How can a penny sales tax be justified for this when the schools, public safety, roads and underprivileged need money? And a penny wouldn’t even begin to pay for it.

    One more thing: I know people who live and work in Miami-Dade. None of them…NONE of them…take Metrorail. It is not as convenient as a car and by the time it might be, South Florida may just be under water.

  10. Duke says:


    Have you ever been on the Florida turnpike at 8 in the morning at the northbound exit to Glades Road? Have you ever been south on the turnpike at 8 in the morning at the southbound Commercial Boulevard exit? Both exits are in close proximity to 441 and both exits have major delays every morning. I’m talking 1 to 2 mile back ups. A lot of those folks are going to places on or very near 441. If we had a rail on 441 many of them would use it.

    Have you ever driven on 441 from Glades Road in Boca to the Dade county line south of Hallandale Beach Boulevard. It’s very congested, and it’s not likely to get less congested. What you have is buses getting caught in all of that. Last time I looked, buses were slower than cars. But rail is faster than both.

    I know that Floridians don’t like to pay for stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthcare, schools, arenas, stadiums, parks, mass transit. That is until it becomes inevitable.

    Some folks don’t see the light until they’re all the way at the end of the tunnel. Maybe our leaders need to do a better job of showing us the light before we get to the end of the tunnel. Make the case. Sort of like what politicians in New Jersey did way back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when everyone up there was bitching about why they need a 20 lane turnpike. Well guess what. Fast forward half a century and see if all those lanes are in use. Of course they are. Leaders up there had vision. Politicians were able to show folks that they can pay for it now, or pay for it later. It’s not getting any cheaper.

    Florida isn’t getting any bigger, but out population sure is. Mass transit is inevitable. I find it laughable that lawyers and doctors and people making a very good living in NYC will take a train to work up there, but the same professional down here would not. It’s simply a matter of it you build it, they will come. Florida is certainly no more spread out than Connecticut or New Jersey. Yet, everyday, tens of thousands of people who live in Connecticut and New Jersey take a train into NYC. All that tells me is the guy who lives in Kendall who works in Ft. Lauderdale or the guy who lives in Wellington who works in Plantation would do the same if he had the option.

    Large population. Small land mass. Touristy based economy. There’s no reason not to be putting emphasis on high speed rail down here. We can pay for it now, or our kids and their kids can pay for it later. But it’s inevitable.


    Florida is certainly different than the New York metropolitan area for one reason: One place — New York City — draws hundreds of thousands into it daily.
    there is no one place that draws that many commuters in South Florida because the work places are too spread out. Despite this, NYC’s transit system loses a fortune.

    By the way, I commuted on the NYC subway. It was hot, overcrowded, often late and often dirty. Call me spoiled, but I never liked being squeezed into a subway car, forced to ride rubbing up against others. I find that many who dream of transit systems and hold up NYC as an example, never really rode the subway day after day, in winter and summer.

    Your example is perfect. If you live in Wellington and work in Plantation, you will always be stuck with a car. A train or bus will never go between the two because there are not enough passengers to make sense.

  11. Alice McGill says:

    It is always a pleasure to travel to cities that have adequate public transportation. San Francisco and Toronto are both good examples. Broward County cannot even run an adequate bus system to provide transportation. Tri Rail does not go where people need to be. South Florida lobbyists and developers are allowed to build, build, build, without providing the infrastructure for the increase in population. Bandaid proposals such as the Wave just don’t heal the logjams in traffic. This new train proposal will be devastating to both marine and road traffic. Then what will the developers, lobbyists, and government officials dream up to transfer tax dollars into their pockets? Perhaps
    everyone can have their own jetpack and just fly over the morass. Or everyone who works downtown can be provided with a segway. Anything will be more cost efficient, practical, and less disruptive than the latest train proposal.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    I would bet more people work in Sunrise/Plantation around the Sawgrass than work on downtown Fort Lauderdale. Money should be given the bus transit system to cut down on the time between buses, then more people might use them. And while they are at it, put wi-fi on the buses like all the new cars have.

    Exactly right!! We also need many more bus bays (those special curbside areas that buses use to move out of the traffic lanes while picking up and dropping off passengers) to avoid all the congestion caused by simply stopping a bus in the right lane of a major highway.

    Rail is wonderful for transporting between metro areas, but it’s an absolutely terrible thing to put anywhere inside a metro area.

    Put train stations at the edges of metro areas and railroad tracks between and around the outside of metro areas. Then the bus system can connect to the train station and provide connectivity to every point within the metro area.

    The bus system should also connect to the airport, and it should provide 24-hour connectivity to both locations. Broward currently fails here – it’s impossible to get a bus to or from the airport between midnight and 5 AM, and even if you could, the rest of the bus system doesn’t run between those hours either.

  13. Duke says:

    Last time my wife and I were in NYC which was not long ago, we rode the train everywhere. We used Penn Station and Grand Central Station as our hub and went to Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Broadway, Times Square, The MET, Staten Island Ferry, Central Park.. and even took the train down to Monmouth County to see the family farm. It was fast, clean, and economical. I saw a lot of professionals riding that train. People with brief cases and nice suits. Those professionals who take the train in to NYC from Connecticut can afford the drive, but they appreciate the convenience. Same with the folks making 250K or more a year who commute from the Jersey suburbs to NYC. It’s not like they can’t afford the tolls or a nice car to drive to work. It’s just a different mindset up there that has not set in here yet.

    I understand what you’re saying about NYC, but when you count the number of drivers commuting between the 3 counties on a daily basis, you realize the potential mass transit trains have down here if it can just be implemented.

    For instance, I live near State Road 7 in Wellington. My office is on State Road 7 in Plantation. Everyday I take the turnpike from Southern Boulevard to Sunrise Boulevard. I’m spending $150 a week on gas and tolls. If there was a light rail going straight down 441 from Okeechobee Boulevard to the Dade line, I would certainly ride it every day. I think a lot of my fellow drivers would too. Like my friend James who works at a radio station at Sheridan Street and I-95. He lives in Delray. Takes Tri_Rail to work 5 days a week. He hops on the train in Delray and exits at Sheridan Street, right next to his job. For him, it doesn’t get anymore convenient. But if I wanted to take Tri rail, I would have to go all the way to downtown WPB to take a train to downtown Ft. Lauderdale, then make my way west to Plantation. The only reason I don’t use public transportation is because it’s not available. Build it, and I will use it.

    I work in an office with approximately 60 employees. Of those 60, probably a third commute from Palm Beach County and another third commute from Dade County. If we had decent reliable mass transit available, many of them would use it. One of our employees lives in Jupiter and commutes 75 miles each way 5 days a week. I guess if we were cops and getting free cars to take home it would not be as bad.

    There’s enough people who commute between the 3 counties to make it work if they just do it right and start changing people’s mindsets. Gas and tolls aren’t going to get any less expensive, the population is continuing to grow, and we’re running out of space. There was a time when riding a train was not looked down upon. Heck, some of the best movies ever made were set on a train.

  14. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Regarding highway congestion, here’s an excerpt from my prior comment on another article:

    the next big thing in transportation isn’t going to be mass transit – it’s the impending arrival of self-driving cars, which will cut the total vehicle population in half!

    The full version of my earlier comment can be seen here:

  15. Real Deal says:

    I can smell the mothballs coming out of my computer screen. That’s how yesterday this conversation is.

  16. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:

    Buddy says, “forced to ride rubbing up against others.”

    Was that you? Hell, I thought someone brought their doggie on the subway.

  17. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Buddy, you are spot on about transit and who really profits/benefits. Look at MetroFail. Broward taxpayers are on the hook for all of it, as usual.

  18. Duke says:

    Anybody who thinks Metrorail is a failure probably doesn’t live and work in Dade County and has never ridden it. Try it one time and tell me if it’s crowded every morning and every afternoon. Same thing with Tri-Rail. Of the half a dozen or so times I’ve ridden it during rush hour, finding a seat was not easy.

    The American Society of Civil Engineers just gave America a D+ grade on our infrastructure. So the problem is not limited to Florida. But is is encouraging to see some folks down here tackling the issue.I can’t wait for the All Aboard Florida trains to start running between Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando. They’re going to average between 79mph and 110 mph depending on what stretch of track they’re on. With 50 million trips per year between south Florida and Orlando, a lot of those commuters are going to opt for the train. Especially the tourist coming into both ports that will decide to make Disney World part of the trip. Does one rent a car and drive to Orlando or does one just hop on a train? Most will opt for the train. Especially foreigners.

    Mass transportation projects are going to be inevitable in southern Florida. It’s simply a matter of do we implement it now, or let our kids and grandkids worry about it later.

    We spend a lot of money building express lanes on highways that are already suppose to be free to use. Rather than building new express lanes down the center of an interstate highway like I-95 and charging people to use them, shouldn’t we be building light rail instead? Same with 595 from Weston into downtown. It cost taxpayers a billion dollars for that express lane down the center of 595. The developer got a 10 million dollar bonus for bringing the project in on time. Who’s bright idea was that? Since when do folks get a bonus for actually doing their job?

    I would have opted for a light rail down the center of 595, but that’s just me. At least for now.

  19. Duke says:

    Has Patrick Murphy really thought this through?

    Case in point. The AAF trains are high speed. The average wait time at an intersection will be 58 seconds. Less than a minute. Same thing with the draw bridges.

    The current cargo trains along the AAF route that hold up intersections for far more than 58 seconds are being moved to the east to use the same tracks as Tri- Rail. This will be done once AAF starts operations. So how does the good congressman figure that delays along the AAF route in his district will be increased? If anything, they will be decreased. 58 seconds is a helluva lost less time than what commuters in his district are currently facing with those cargo trains. Additionally, I read in yesterdays papers that the average cost per municipality to upgrade and maintain crossings is less than $14,000 per year and that most city leaders along the route have no problem with that.

    And one can’t help but wonder what will happen to Tri-Rail once AAF starts running high speed trains on time between downtown areas and Tri-Rail has to share tracks with cargo trains. I envision AAF taking a lot of Tri-Rails business and further expanding on it.


    First of all, nowhere is this supposed to be a high speed rail. The tracks would have to be redone. There would be significant danger to drivers at crossways.

    Second of all, All Board America is not a commuter rail. This is from the company’s news release: “All Aboard Florida is an intercity passenger rail project being developed by Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI) – owner of Florida’s premier passenger rail corridor – that will connect Miami to Orlando with intermediate stations in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.”

    There are only three stops in South Florida. That is not a commuter rail. What about riders in Hollywood, North Dade, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and the entire Treasure Coast?

    This is railroad from South Florida to Orlando. Whether it will be successful is chancy, but it will have a $1 billion from the taxpayers. It will be interesting to see what Gov. Rick Scott, who turned down the Washington money for high speed rail, does about this project.

  20. Duke says:

    I guess it depends on one’s definition of high speed. To me, 79 mph to 110 mph is high speed. But I’m sure it’s not as high speed as some other trains around the world.

    While I agree that it’s not being billed as a “commuter rail”, one cannot ignore the fact that due to it’s proximity to the east, and the fact that it’s stopping in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach, a lot of folks from Dade County will opt to take the faster AAF early morning train into downtown Ft. Lauderdale and downtown WPB. Same rationale for the folks to the north who need to head south to one of those downtowns. For the folks that have to go to Hollywood, Pompano,Boca Raton, etc, Tri Rail will probably be their only alternative. But if you work in downtown WPB, downtown Ft. Lauderdale, or downtown Miami, AAF is going to be an easier commute to and from work as opposed to Tri-Rail.

    Rick Scott should not have screwed us out of all that federal money that was earmarked for a bullet train. Just one more component of his plan to keep Florida in the dark ages and try to hand it to Romney in the last election. Now, California gets all that money for a bullet train between L.A. and San Francisco.

    All Aboard Florida will work. The proof will be in the pudding.

  21. Duke says:

    One more comment then I will let it go.

    Don’t be surprised when Tri-Rails expansion plans to link with the eastern tracks and be more coastal get nixed. The AAF folks will never let it happen. All Aboard Florida will be the predominant downtown link for Miami, WPB, and Ft. Lauderdale. Tri-Rail will primarily serve the folks farther west. When AAF gets up and running, any Tri-Rail expansion plans are rendered unfeasible. If anything, the AAF folks will be the ones convincing Tri-Rail to let AAF expand outward to the west and use the Tracks Tri-Rail is currently using. AAF ultimately means Tri-Rails days could be numbered or one will serve the east downtown areas and one will serve the more western communities. But there’s no way Tri-Rail now expands east.

  22. Mary Sessions says:

    There is a group of citizens working to preserve the City of Fort Lauderdale, the marine industry and our way of life. We have a petition that you can sign that will be sent to the Federal Railroad Administration. Join us and sign at:
    There is also a facebook page to read and learn more about this issue. The facebook page is:

  23. Pat says:

    Heavy domestic and international air traffic on florida airports is obvious, and if true, that 1,000 move to FL each day, a third airport might relieve some of the congestion and high prices that is causing the problem of excess demand with limited supply.

    Configuration of the state limits expansion opportunities, but clearly Miami Airport is statistically mostly a port of entry/exit for international travelers. To increase security, a third airport to serve domestic travel could be helpful.