WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today advanced legislation he wrote addressing concerns from boaters in Stuart, Fla. that Brightline will impede boat traffic at the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge.  The amendment would limit the amount of time the bridge is allowed to remain in the down position, which blocks boat traffic to accommodate an increase in high speed rail traffic.

“Florida’s water, whether it’s being used for commerce or recreation, is what makes our community great and why so many people move to Florida,” Rep. Mast said.  “Brightline does not have the right to impede boat traffic.  My bill will ensure that boaters continue to receive priority.  I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Transportation Committee for their support of my amendment."

In a meeting of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Mast successfully amended the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 to require the Coast Guard to implement regulations for St. Lucie Railroad Bridge in Stuart that mirror those issued in 2016 to regulate the New River Railroad Bridge in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. limiting the amount of time the bridge is allowed to remain in the down position.  Today’s amendment codifies that those regulations be implemented, as opposed to less equitable rules favored by Brightline.

Rep. Mast’s amendment was approved unanimously by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022 now awaits consideration by the full House of Representatives.  A final vote on its passage is expected in the coming weeks. 

The full committee markup can be viewed here


Rep. Mast has been fighting for years to protect the rights of boaters on the Treasure Coast as it relates to Brightline:

  • Following a request from Rep. Mast in 2018, the Coast Guard conducted a study on the waterway usage near the St. Lucie and Loxahatchee River Railroad Bridges.  The study examined the potential impact that expanded rail traffic would have on the Treasure Coast maritime industry and recreational boaters.  

  • The study concluded that the 2016 New River regulations, in effect in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the time, should be used as the model for the St. Lucie Railroad Bridge.  

  • This bill would force the Coast Guard to implement regulations that are based on the results of that study.