We live in Fort Lauderdale, along the New River, and the proposed All Aboard Florida passenger service will cut the City of Fort Lauderdale in half. The rail is ground level through the city which passes over major roadways and over the New River. We enjoy boating and the ocean access that we have today. Right now there are approximately 12 freight trains that use the rail during any one day. Not all of these trains pass during daylight hours. The AAF proposal increases the number of trains from 12 to an hourly service from 6am to 9 pm everyday of the week. Everyone that lives on the west side of the FEC rail corridor in Fort Lauderdale should be alarmed because of the detrimental impact for the following reasons:
The Marine Industry, commercial and recreational, along the New River. When the rail bridge is down a boat as small as a dinghy cannot pass. As observed, when a train that only took one minute to pass over the bridge on the New River the bridge was down for approximately 20 minutes.
Property values of property adjacent to the rail and waterways due to increased rail traffic.
The added noise and restrictions to major road crossings and boat traffic.
Studies indicate no significant impact at railroad crossings. Recently, as reported in the Sun Sentinel, the draw bridge was stuck for an hour and left thousands of rush-hour traffic seething at rail crossings from Broward to Sunrise Boulevards. We understand that this project is privately funded? by guaranteed governments loan and provides a needed service to the state if we are to grow as projected but not at the expense of the Marine Industry and citizens in Fort Lauderdale. According to a Florida Inland Navigation District study, the waterways in Broward County provide $6.1 billion in sales and $1.4 billion in wages annually by marine related activity. If the City of Fort Lauderdale is to continue to grow as a viable market for the marine industry, real-estate, and tourism the rail needs to be raised over the New River to allow the 90 percent of the marine traffic to pass unencumbered as it does today. This was done to the existing rail that parallels the I-95 corridor over the New River. Marine traffic takes precedence over rail on navigable waters and the New River is a navigable river.The City is known as the Venice of America and I hope that nothing happens to change that distinction.