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Old 01-07-2015, 12:31 PM   #1
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For Florida Boater/Ft. Lau Rail Bridges

From Trade Only Today:

Florida boaters flood Coast Guard with comments on bridge openings

Posted on January 7th, 2015 Written by Jim Flannery

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The Coast Guard gathered around 3,000 comments in hearings in November about the navigation needs of mariners at three railroad drawbridges that run over the New River in Fort Lauderdale, the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter and the St. Lucie River in Stuart, according to Barry Dragon, chief of bridge administration for the Seventh Coast Guard District.

Half to two-thirds of those comments registered concern with the All Aboard Florida high-speed passenger service proposed for the 128.5-mile Florida East Coast Railroad corridor from Miami to Cocoa and a new 40-mile east-west rail corridor on state-owned right-of-way from Cocoa to Orlando. But Dragon said that wasn’t the hearings’ purpose. The purpose was to gather information on how mariners use those waterways and what their “reasonable navigation needs” at the bridges are — today.
“The hardest part was getting mariners to tell me what their needs are, not what they think about All Aboard Florida,” Dragon said.

The hearings — held Nov. 12-14 in Hollywood, Jupiter and Stuart — were in response to mariner complaints about long and/or unscheduled railroad bridge closures at those locations when completion of the preliminary environmental impact statement for AAF pushed the proposed rail service — and the impact of 32 more passenger trains a day — to front and center. However, Dragon said at this point it is uncertain whether AAF in its current iteration will get the Federal Railroad Administration’s nod. If the service does get approval and AAF decides it wants to change the drawbridges’ schedules, it will have to ask the Coast Guard for the changes to each bridge.

The district commander can decide the changes are unnecessary and deny the request. If it appears the changes are reasonable, his staff can undertake formal rulemaking to implement them, which would require public hearings. Dragon said Coast Guard hearings on AAF will come only when and if AAF moves forward with a plan to change the scheduled openings of the bridges for the high-speed trains.

In the meantime, he said, information gathered at November’s hearings will be analyzed to see if the reasonable navigational needs of mariners are currently being met at those bridges. The Guard will talk to the FEC — the bridges’ owner — to see what its needs are right now. Then bridge administrators will meet with the Captain of the Port, and if he decides the bridge opening schedule needs to be adjusted — and he may not decide that — the Coast Guard will post a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, giving all parties a chance of comment on the proposed changes. An interim rule will follow, allowing yet more comment, and then a final rule.

“They’ll get two more shots at anything we decide to do,” he said.
Dragon notes that the Coast Guard is supposed to try to balance the needs of maritime and land transportation at the bridges, “putting together a schedule that works for both,” he said. For mariners, the biggest issue often is knowing the schedule of closings and knowing that the railroad will keep that schedule so waterway users can schedule their movements up and down the river accordingly. Mariners “don’t want to be guessing” when the bridge is going to be down, Dragon said.

Under the Rivers and Harbors Act, first adopted in 1824, anyone proposing to build a bridge over navigable waters must obtain a permit from the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard, which was given the job of permitting bridges in 1967, is tasked with protecting the reasonable needs of public navigation on navigable waterways.

“ ‘Reasonable needs’ are the key words,” Dragon said.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:32 PM   #2
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So why not force the rail company to build bridges that are high enough so a draw/swing bridge is not needed?
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:59 PM   #3
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So why not force the rail company to build bridges that are high enough so a draw/swing bridge is not needed?

They would be delighted to , with Public Funds , not their own.

Any bridge will get the armed dirt house NAMBY folks out by the bus load.

So pretending the waterway has no public value works best.

Next best is political ca$h to anyone in love with empty trains.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:07 PM   #4
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Oh like the "Bridges to Nowhere" I get it.....
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
So why not force the rail company to build bridges that are high enough so a draw/swing bridge is not needed?
The railroads try to hold their grades to 1-2%. A 4% grade to RR is huge. It takes a lot of power to pull a train up a hill. Unlike a highway, the overpasses for trains would be very long and expensive.
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Old 01-07-2015, 04:12 PM   #6
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After years of making the CSX tri-rail system into what it is today with federal money's and state money's ,doubling the tracks building the high bridge over the new river at I- 95 . Someone comes along and wants to improve the FEC rail line. Doesn't want to improve the tracks just wants federal and state money to build a passenger rail traveling n to mickey land. Bad enough that you has 150 railcars with containers going over the bridges severall times a day now add a passenger train. What's happens when the ports of Miami and port everglades start getting the panama canal exspantion trade?
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:24 PM   #7
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ID:	36121 I took this today. St. Lucie River in Stuart.
What's particularly insane about this is that there are railroad tracks running directly to Orlando from Miami. Amtrak runs daily service on them. THESE tracks don't even go to Orlando- they go along the East Coast, so they plan to make a hard left turn at Cocoa Beach and go 40 miles due west through pristine wetlands, across the St. Johns River and end up at the AIRPORT in Orlando which is south of town. A $65. cab ride south of town to the tourist strip of hotels. THE AIRPORT. The same airport you can fly to in 30 minutes from Miami. NOTALLABOARDFLORIDA.com has the truth on all this. A NY Hedge fund who has ZERO experience in running trains is doing this. But the REAL owners are China. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Wait-there's more! The Fangol Brothers (Big Sugar out there around Lake Okeechobee) are planning to suck more money from the govt tit as apparently sugar substidies aren't enough- and are planning ETHANOL plants out there, and are going to run this incredibly flammable substance on these tracks to the ports of Miami and Jacksonville- right through our towns over wood bridges and bridges built a LONG time ago. Oh they will cross 350 "at grade" crossings between 79- 110 mph. It's so insane nobody believes it can be true. People in Miami haven't even heard about it, yet they seem hellbent on ramming this through despite Senators and every resident along the routes adamantly opposed to it.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:31 PM   #8
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What YOU didn't hear. From Palm Beach Post. THIS is the crap we're up against folks. We citizens vs Big Corporations. Fish and Wildlife agents tell me that they're not allowed to report Panthers are in Vero Beach because panthers are endangered species. Then developers wouldn't be allowed to build there. The United States Coast Guard is supposed to work for us aren't they? I mean WHO more than the US Coast Guard should know the dangers of closing the railway bridges a majority of daylight hours as proposed? The Coast Guard nor any law enforcement agency has any boats that will even fit under these bridges in the closed position. Don't they have records of rescues and disabled boats?
The USCG says the comments they received were almost useless! They did not want to hear about the train but rather navigational issues. Come one USCG - these trains will cause major navigation issues!
"STUART — Virtually all of the 3,000 comments collected by the Coast Guard during November meetings about navigation needs of boaters around railroad drawbridges that run over three South Florida rivers contained concerns about All Aboard Florida, Coast Guard officials said.
The meetings — in Stuart, Jupiter and Hollywood in early November — were about current navigation concerns through the St. Lucie, Loxahatchee and New rivers’ railroad bridges, not possible future effects of All Aboard Florida, which plans to run high-speed passenger trains between Miami and Orlando and require 32 additional daily closings of the railroad bridges, officials said.
“(The comments) were almost useless,” said Barry Dragon, chief of bridge administration for the Seventh Coast Guard District.
Comments regarding current navigation needs will help the Coast Guard propose new regulations to Florida East Coast Industries, which owns the three bridges and owns All Aboard Florida. New rules could include closing schedules and the addition of bridge tenders. The Coast Guard specifically discouraged comments on All Aboard Florida because the project does not currently affect navigation, Dragon said.
TCPalm
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:02 PM   #9
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For my 3 cents, the passenger traffic will never materialize at least between Orlando and Miami. This is a "build it and they won't show up" type of deal with taxpayers at risk. I have a hard time getting too excited about the 32 train projections because I don't believe the traffic is there or will be there even on a seasonal basis.

A far better high speed train would have been between Orlando and Tampa/St Pete. There is a lot of commuter traffic on I4 now. The Orlando-Cape Canaveral leg also has some merit. Honestly, if some one brings their family to Disney for a vacation, Where are they likely to go next? The Gulf beaches, East Coast beaches, or cruises out of the Cape or Tampa are my guess. The whole AAF concept is flawed and nothing more than a subterfuge for additional freight train traffic. Keystone makes more sense than AAF.
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