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Comments Sought on Passenger Rail Plan October 27, 2014

By Michael Turnbell,
Sun Sentinel

Harboring some worthy thoughts on train travel? Here’s your chance to share.

Residents will have opportunity to sound off on All Aboard Florida’s plans for passenger rail service in a series of eight public meetings starting Monday.

The Federal Railroad Administration is hosting the meetings to get comments on a 500-page draft environmental impact statement that reviewed the project’s affect from West Palm Beach to Orlando.

Also under review: Its impact to boaters where the tracks cross drawbridges on the New River in Fort Lauderdale, the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter and the St. Lucie River.

The meetings will be in an open house format, with 30 different information stations set up for various topics in the study. There will also be video simulations of how long crossings will be closed when trains pass and how trains affect drawbridges. Find meeting times and locations at the end of this story.

All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 passenger trains a day on the coastal tracks that parallel U.S. 1 between Miami and Cocoa, and on new tracks between Cocoa and Orlando. Service between Miami and West Palm Beach is expected to start in late 2016, with the northern leg to Orlando starting in 2017.

The Miami-to-West Palm Beach segment has already received federal approval and preparations for construction are under way, with crossing work expected to begin at the end of the year.

The public will have 75 days to comment on the study, nearly twice as long as required. The comment period ends Dec. 3. Residents can submit comments at one of the meetings or by email or mail.

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