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Sun Sentinel: Marine industry, All Aboard Florida seek solution on New River bridge November 28, 2014

By Doreen Hemlock and William E. Gibson
Sun Sentinel
November 28, 2014

The old railway bridge over the New River in Fort Lauderdale has emerged as the latest flash point in plans to launch high-speed passenger rail service from Miami to Orlando.

The marine industry insists All Aboard Florida’s trains will keep the low bridge down too long, choking access for boats and damaging a key industry in an area known as the yachting capital of the world.

A draft study by the Federal Railroad Administration found that the new trains will have a negligible effect on boating.

But elected officials, local residents and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida are mobilizing to find ways that both boats and trains can thrive, spurring development and jobs — if that’s at all possible.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, is urging the Coast Guard to keep boat traffic flowing by limiting delays from expanded train service.

Mary Sessions of Fort Lauderdale has rounded up more than 1,000 signatures of local residents on a petition calling for the New River bridge to be built higher to accommodate more boats and for freight traffic to be moved farther west away from urban clusters.

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 2312 S. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. Phone: 954.524.2733