One of the first things I did as a Member of Congress was work to secure a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee because that committee can address many of the issues facing our community, from waterways, to roads and bridges. When it comes to advocating for the Treasure Coast, there’s few better positions to hold.
That was especially true this week, as the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Linda Fagan, testified in our hearing. I used this as an opportunity to raise a critical issue: Brightline and the closures of the St. Lucie River railroad bridge. Brightline has, once again, attempted to steamroll our community, and the Coast Guard has been complicit. The Coast Guard has already allowed the bridge to be closed every night for two weeks, and in May, it will be closed 24/7 for almost the entire month in order to make repairs Brightline needs.
But it could get much worse: the Coast Guard is currently in the rulemaking process that will ultimately determine how often the bridge is closed so that Brightline can run its trains through our community 32 times per day. It’s possible that boaters could have just 90 minutes in a 15-hour period to cross through the bridge.
I was hoping that Admiral Fagan would take this opportunity to assure me, and the rest of Florida’s 21st district, that she will listen to the concerns of the people impacted by this decision and find a good solution. Unfortunately, I didn’t get those assurances. She refused to commit to anything resembling fairness for the marine industry and boaters who depend on access to both sides of the bridge.
This fight’s far from over, and you all have been instrumental in getting it to this point. You’ve continued to make your voices heard, and we’re going to keep the pressure up. Stay tuned!