MIASF Rallies in Community Support via EIS Comments December 5, 2014
The comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) ended on December 3rd. During the comment period those who had concerns about the impact of the All Aboard Florida passenger train project had the opportunity to go on the record with their concerns. All the input will be reviewed and consider as the Federal Railroad Administration prepares the Final Environmental Statement (FEIS) which will include mitigation requirements All Aboard Florida must comply with in order to move forward with their project.
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida has taken the position that the FEC railroad bridge over the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale needs to be open 40 minutes of every hour in order not to unfairly burden the large number of boatyards, marinas and marine businesses that rely on those facilities to conduct business. Imagine closing access to any business 50% of each hour and expecting the business to continue to thrive. The marine industry in Broward County alone employs 110,000 people and reports an economic impact of $8.8 Billion. The marine businesses and people’s lives are too great to jeopardize and disrupt without thoughtful understanding of the importance of the New River and the benefit it brings to our community.
Prior to the DEIS deadline, MIASF reached out to the community and government to request their support of the marine industry. Executive Director, Phil Purcell presented to Broward County Commission meeting on December 2nd. Commissioner Stacy Ritter stated the Broward County response to the DEIS would include concern about the impact to the marine industry. She also noted as Chair of the South Florida Regional Planning Counsel she could report their executive committee had met and agreed to include in their response to the DEIS the importance of finding a solution for the railroad which would not impact the marine industry. Mayor Jack Seiler, City of Fort Lauderdale has also written a letter indicating support of the marine industry and its 40 minute bridge open request and reinforcing the need to find a solution as the rail use increases so as not to effect marine interest.
Support of the marine industry was not restricted to elected officials with many businesses and their employees taking the opportunity to express their first hand experiences to the challenges of the New River under current use. Once the FEIS is released (in 2015) there will be another comment period. MIASF will keep the membership advised through this process.