Jan 31 2018

DEADLINE EXTENDED: At Mast’s Request, Coast Guard Conducting Survey of St. Lucie, Loxahatchee Railroad Bridge Usage

Request Followed Concerns About Expanded Rail Traffic From Brightline; Comment Period Extended Until February 16, 2018: www.mast.house.gov/trainstudy

Stuart, Fla. – The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a survey collecting information about waterway usage near the St. Lucie and Loxahatchee River Railroad Bridges following a request by U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) to study the potential impact that expanded rail traffic, including as a result of Brightline, would have on the Treasure Coast maritime industry and recreational boaters.  The original deadline was February 1, 2018 and has been extended to February 16, 2018 after an outpouring of survey responses.

“Before the proposed expansion of Brightline goes through, it is imperative that we understand the consequences of expanding rail traffic on our bridges,” Rep. Mast said. “At my request, the Coast Guard is completing a study into the use of our waterways, and they’re asking for your input.  Your comments are critical to ensuring the Coast Guard understands how our community uses these waterways and the impact that expanded rail traffic would have moving forward.”

Rep. Mast wrote to the Coast Guard in October, 2017 requesting that they “conduct a thorough study of the current impact on accessibility of vessels under the railroad bridges on the St. Lucie River and Loxahatchee River, as well as the future impact on maritime traffic resulting from the proposed expansion of the Brightline Railway.”  The full letter is attached.

Following that request, the U.S. Coast Guard is “soliciting input from the mariners who use these waterways in order to ensure that waterways management systems are serving their intended purpose.”  The deadline to complete the survey is now February 16, 2018 and it can be completed online at www.mast.house.gov/trainstudy.  

Rep. Mast has been a fierce opponent of the Brightline/All Aboard Florida project, arguing that it will disrupt our way of life on the Treasure Coast, lower property values and risk public safety.  Last year, Florida East Coast Industries’ executive director Mike Reininger, who runs the parent company of Brightline and previously served as the CEO of All Aboard Florida, testified about financing for All Aboard Florida before Congress.  At the hearing, Rep. Mast exposed numerous ways that All Aboard Florida is deceiving people in Florida about their funding sources.