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All Aboard Florida
Letter to FEC Regarding Blocked Crossings

Letter from Mayor to FEC regarding blocked train crossing.

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FDOT Response Letter to All Aboard Florida Regarding Article Stating they have Gov't Support
July 14, 2014
Analysis:  All Aboard Florida private rail project has government financial support
Click here to read article

July 15, 2014
Read the response letter from FDOT to All Aboard Florida regarding the use of state dollars.  Click here.

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All Aboard Florida Information on their Plans to Mitigate Impacts
The attached document outlines measures AAF plans to implement to ensure impacts to Tequesta are understood and mitigated. 



All Aboard Florida Public Meeting
May 27, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Tequesta First Baptist Church
423 Tequesta Drive


Dear Neighbors and Friends,

On Tuesday evening, May 27, 2014, the Village Council of the Village of Tequesta is hosting a public meeting to discuss All Aboard Florida, the express passenger rail service developed by Florida East Coast Industries.  All Aboard Florida is proposed to operate 32 passenger trains daily on the FEC railroad tracks between Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The meeting is being held at the Tequesta First Baptist Church, 423 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta, FL and will begin promptly at 7:00 pm.

Dr. Kim DeLaney, Strategic Development Coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, will present an overview and current status of the All Aboard Florida project.  Mayor Abby Brennan will discuss the projected direct impact that the passenger train service and expected increase in FEC freight traffic will have on the Village of Tequesta, Jupiter Inlet Colony, and neighboring communities. 

George Gentile, Chairman of the Jupiter Inlet District, will report on bridge safety and boating statistics collected by cameras placed at the Loxahatchee River train trestle bridge.  In addition, information compiled by the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Association of Realtors concerning area home values will be presented.

I encourage you to attend this important meeting and learn more about All Aboard Florida and its potential effect on you and the entire community.

Best regards,
Abby Brennan
Mayor
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Letter from the Mayor - All Aboard Florida or All About Freight
April 27, 2014

Good Afternoon Neighbors,

Frank Cerabino’s observation in Sunday’s, April 27, 2014, Palm Beach Post is one that some of us have been speculating about for some time.

Many contend that the All Aboard Florida (AAF) project, as currently proposed, just doesn’t make sense. The other AAF project, irreverently referred to as All About Freight, seems more likely and certainly more lucrative for Florida East Coast Industries (FECI). Although there is an outcry to completely stop the proposed All Aboard Florida train, it does not address what may be a much larger issue. Stopping All Aboard Florida could actually allow the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) tracks to accommodate even more freight trains than currently projected.

The fact is, FEC owns and has the right-of-way on the coastal rail route running between Miami and Jacksonville. FEC has been in the business of moving freight since the mid1800s, well before its holding company, FECI, was incorporated in 1983. It has every right to grow its business and remain profitable. If anything, we don’t want to see another railroad fail and the federal government using our tax dollars to rescue it.

However, it is imperative that a balance between the rights of FECI to operate comfortably in the black and the rights of residents to live comfortably in their homes is agreed upon before a $1.6 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan is granted to FECI for All Aboard Florida. The RRIF loan program provides direct federal loans and loan guarantees through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). According to the USDOT website, the FRA “will give priority to projects that will provide public benefits, including benefits to public safety, the environment and economic development.” Although that description appears to dovetail with the proposed addition of All Aboard Florida passenger trains, perhaps not so much with the projected FECI increase in freight trains.

An Environmental Impact Statement is anticipated to be released sometime in the next 60 days. It is purported to include information germane to allowing the project to move forward and obtain a RRIF loan. However, we must be clear about what the FRA is actually financing and, if it’s not just All Aboard Florida, do the parameters for gaining loan priority apply to increased FEC freight traffic. We must also prevail and require full disclosure of what is projected to be coming down the tracks. When applying for a $1.6 billion federally-backed RRIF loan, it stands to reason that strong projections of how many, what type and the frequency of trains needed to make this project viable, profitable and pay debt service must be clearly demonstrated.

Health, safety and welfare of all who live, work and visit the Village of Tequesta will be protected at all costs. It will never be compromised. In order to achieve and maintain this, it is critical that we know what the overall plan is – now. The only way this project should receive a RRIF loan, in any amount, is for the FRA to require FECI to find an acceptable balance between the rails and the residents.

See Below for Frank Cerabino's article

Abby Brennan
Mayor
Village of Tequesta
345 Tequesta Drive
Tequesta, FL 33469
Cell: (561) 339-0740
Office: (561) 768-0460





Frank Cerabino's Article - Palm Beach Post 4/27/14

From PB POST 4.27.14

All Aboard rail work may help freight, not passengers
Frank Cerabino


“I’m having a hard time imagining that All Aboard Florida is actually about moving people on the Florida East Coast Railway line.
I know that’s the story. That Florida East Coast Industries, which is owned by a New York private equity company, has suddenly seized on the idea of using its freight-only track to haul people between South Florida to Orlando.
And not just a few people. Thirty-two trains a day. Trains with 400-seat capacity moving people between stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach with its northern hub at Orlando International Airport. Even if it means getting to the airport will require the construction of about 35 miles of new track between the Space Coast and Orlando.
We’ve been here before.
Nearly 20 years ago, the Florida Overland express (FOX) bullet train was envisioned as a rail service between South Florida and Orlando on the CSX tracks, the existing passenger tracks. Passengers were to be whisked on state-of-the-art French-made TGV trains that would travel about 200 miles an hour. An adult ticket price was set at $52.
Great excitement didn’t ensue. The project never left the station.
So here we are two decades later, talking about using trains that would travel about half as fast, and take people about twice as long to get there, and we’re expected to believe that this for-profit company envisions filling 32 trainloads of people a day, people who would pay — oh yeah, we don’t know how much yet — to get between downtown Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach and the Orlando airport.
So until further notice, I’m thinking this has more to do with the Panama Canal.
By next year, a third lock is expected to be added in the Panama Canal. This will allow the biggest of cargo ships to pass. Until that happens, huge cargo ships loaded with Chinese imports to the U.S. typically go to West Coast ports such as Long Beach, Calif. The cargo is then unloaded and shipped by truck or rail to the East Coast.
But when the Panama Canal’s new lock is finished, these ships, known as post-Panamax cargo ships, will be able to take their Chinese goods through the Canal and into America’s East Coast ports.
These post-Panamax ships, which are four football fields long, can carry 12,000 shipping containers, which is nearly three times more than the next biggest cargo ship.
They are also so big that their keels, which extend 50 feet below the waterline, don’t allow them to enter most harbors on the East Coast.
The only East Coast harbors deep enough for them are New York City, Baltimore and Norfolk, Va.
But not for long. The Port of Miami, with a $112 million contribution from the state of Florida, has begun dredging its main harbor channel to a depth of 52 feet, and getting four 25-story cranes to accommodate the big ships.
So once these giant cargo ships, with their 12,000-container loads, start lumbering north in the Atlantic next year, the first American port available will be Miami.
This will be a bonanza for the Florida East Coast Railway line, which runs into the Miami seaport, and operates trains that could ship all this offloaded cargo north.
You would think that Florida East Coast Industries might just focus on that. But by announcing plans to run a busy passenger train on the same line, its rail line has gotten lots of attention from local governments that anticipate spending money for noise mitigation and crossing safety along the route.
There are 115 train crossings in Palm Beach County alone. Keeping nearby residents happy through the creation of quiet zones near the intersections has been estimated to cost the county about $23.4 million.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott has pledged $215 million in state money to help pay for the rail line’s Orlando station and the company is seeking federal loans for the $1.5 billion needed for track improvements.
By planning for a passenger train — one that may or may not be successful — the railroad company stands to get all sorts of government help in improving what will surely be a freight rail line about to experience a heavy demand of cargo traffic.
So, is All Aboard Florida really about moving people on one of Florida’s freight lines?

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Mayor Brennan discussing the impacts All Aboard Florida will have on Tequesta
Click here to watch video

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Palm Beach Post Article - April 18, 2014

Click here to read article. 

Click here to view video of Mayor discussing impacts to Tequesta. 

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Council Unanimously Passes Resolution 12-14

During the April 10, 2014 Council Meeting, Council unanimously passed Resolution 12-14 acknowledging and identifying significant public health, safety and welfare concerns resulting from the "All Aboard Florida" plan; and urging local, state and federal officials to assist the Village in mitigating said concerns.

Click here to view the complete Resolution.
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Notice of Rescheduled Meeting

Sponsored by the North Bay Homeowners Association

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:00 pm

Jupiter Community Center

210 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL

Attached is an agenda for the rescheduled meeting sponsored by the North Bay Homeowners Association to discuss All Aboard Florida (AAF), the express passenger rail service developed by Florida East Coast Industries (FECI).  The train is proposed to operate on the FEC railroad tracks between Miami and Orlando with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.  The meeting is being held on Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:00 pm at the Jupiter Community Center, 210 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL. 

United States Congressman Patrick E. Murphy will address the group to discuss his efforts regarding the AAF project.  In addition, representatives from the United States Coast Guard and the Florida Department of Transportation will speak about their jurisdictions and roles in the development of the rail line.

Dr. Kim DeLaney, Strategic Development Coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, will present an overview and current status of the project.  Village of Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan,  George Gentile, Chairman of the Jupiter Inlet District and Bill Hall, President of the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Association of Realtors, will discuss the projected impact to the Loxahatchee River and adjacent municipalities.  The meeting will be moderated by Tom Howard, Esq., Commissioner of the Jupiter Inlet District.  Jose Gonzalez, Executive Vice President of FECI, and representatives of AAF will attend to address questions and comments from the meeting presenters. 

Also attached is a copy of a letter released today from Congressman Patrick Murphy to United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  Congressman Murphy is urging the Department to require AAF to address serious community concerns with the pending rail project before considering AAF's application for a federal loan.

Best regards,

Abby Brennan

Mayor

Village of Tequesta

345 Tequesta Drive

Tequesta, FL 33469

Cell:     (561) 339-0740

Office:  (561) 768-0460



All Aboard Florida Meeting Rescheduled
April 2, 2014 Press Release

The North Bay Homeowners Association has rescheduled a public meeting to discuss the proposed All Aboard Florida rail service for Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:00 pm at the Jupiter Community Center, 210 Military Trail, Jupiter. FL. Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), the developer of All Aboard Florida, has announced that an additional 32 express passenger trains will run daily on the FEC rail line between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Dr. Kim DeLaney, Strategic Development Coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, will present an overview and current status of the project. Village of Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan, George Gentile, Chairman of the Jupiter Inlet District and Bill Hall, President of the Jupiter Tequesta Hobe Sound (JTHS) Association of Realtors will discuss the projected impact to the Loxahatchee River and municipalities along the rail line. The meeting will be moderated by Tom Howard, Esq., Commissioner of the Jupiter Inlet District.

Jose Gonzalez, Executive Vice President of FECI, and representatives of All Aboard Florida will attend to address questions and concerns of the public. In addition, invitations have been extended to representatives of the United States Coast Guard and Florida Department of Transportation.

For more information, contact Pat Magrogan at: 


Public Meeting: Discussion of All Aboard Florida
Sponsor: North Bay Homeowners Association
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Jupiter Community Center
210 Military Trail, Jupiter FL
Media Contact: Pat Magrogan

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Press Release - Tour of Loxahatchee River
March 3, 2014 Press Release from Mayor Brennan

Earlier today, Tequesta Mayor Abby Brennan, Chief of Police Christopher Elg, and executives from Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) and “All Aboard Florida” boarded Marine-85 for a tour of the Loxahatchee River and the railroad bridge that transports trains over it.  All Aboard Florida proposes adding 32 passenger trains per day to the approximately 12–14 freight trains that already cross the bridge.  Concern for public safety on land and water prompted Village Council to invite representatives of FECI and All Aboard Florida to view the underside of the bridge and the mechanism that raises and lowers it.  

As a train approaches, the bridge is lowered into place and, ideally, raised after the train passes.  However, the mechanism that controls the process is decades old and requires significant maintenance and repair, which often causes the bridge to remain in the lowered position.  Doing so obstructs nearly all marine traffic and prevents Marine-85, Tequesta’s Police Patrol and certified Advanced Life Support boat, from responding to emergencies on the other side.   When the mechanism fails and cannot be lowered, freight trains traveling north to south can block all three road crossings separating approximately 95% of commercial, retail, and restaurants that are situated east of the tracks from the predominantly residential neighborhoods to the west.  Tequesta’s Public Safety building, which houses both fire rescue and police, is also west of the tracks. 

Village Council is urging that all available bridge equipment upgrades and replacements are considered.  This will help assure that police protection and fire rescue services are unimpeded with rapid access to both sides of the tracks.   

Council also continues to pursue every opportunity to mitigate the effect this project may have on the safety, quality of life and overall wellbeing of our entire community. 

For additional information regarding the tour and other potential impacts to the Village, contact Mayor Abby Brennan at or call (561)768.0460.
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Speed Train.jpg


Letter from the Mayor - All Aboard Florida

On Thursday, March 6th, a public meeting, hosted by the North Bay Homeowners Association, is being held to discuss the “All Aboard Florida” fast train project.  The meeting is being held at the River Center, 805 US Highway One, Jupiter (directly behind Palm Beach County Fire Station #18) at 6:00 pm.

“All Aboard Florida” is a subsidiary of privately-owned Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) that plans the addition of 32 passenger trains traveling daily between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.  The train will use the FEC track which is currently used only by freight trains.  This meeting will focus primarily on the impact to the Loxahatchee River train trestle bridge and its effect on marine travel and safety. 

Upon learning of the project this past August, Mike Grella, executive director of the Jupiter Inlet District, and I took the lead in forming an inter-agency working group coordinated by Dr. Kim DeLaney, Strategic Development Coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.  Representatives from FECI, “All Aboard Florida”, the Town of Jupiter, local, county, state and federal governments, Jupiter Inlet District, Florida DOT, United States Coast Guard, Marine Industries and others have now met on two occasions.  Due to Florida Sunshine Law constraints, Council Member Tom Paterno or I attend the meetings to assure the Village of Tequesta is represented at all times. Tequesta Police Chief Christopher Elg also attends.

Other important considerations that Council is actively pursuing include changes to the railroad crossing on Tequesta Drive, possible “quiet zones” (elimination of train horns), etc.  We are in the process of arranging a public meeting for Village of Tequesta residents where principals of “All Aboard Florida” and FECI will present the project particulars and answer questions.  I will notify you as soon as that meeting is scheduled and it will be posted on the Village of Tequesta website (www.tequesta.org), Facebook page and Twitter.

Once again, the meeting on March 6th concerns the Loxahatchee River train trestle bridge.  An agenda for the meeting is both attached and listed below and I urge you to attend.

Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or text message at (561) 339-0740 or via email at . I look forward to seeing you.

Click here
to access meeting agenda.

Abby Brennan

Mayor

Village of Tequesta

345 Tequesta Drive

Tequesta, FL 33469-0273

561.768-0460 – main number

www.tequesta.org
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Contact Us Village of Tequesta
345 Tequesta Dr., Tequesta, FL 33469-0273
Phone: 561-768-0700