All Aboard Florida opponents request meeting with Rick Scott

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An anti-commuter rail coalition from wealthy suburban communities in Palm Beach and Martin Counties are seeking a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott.

Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida, the newest effort to oppose passenger rail service on Florida’s East Coast, sent a letter to the governor on Monday requesting a meeting to address their concerns.

The group is questioning the funding for All Aboard Florida, and its potential impact on drivers, boaters and first responders, who will contend with up to 32 trains a day along Florida’s East Coast rails adjacent to waterfront communities.

According to the letter, “decreased property values and increased noise — both likely fallouts of these rail projects — are also concerns, and again cut to the heart and soul of our basic concern: quality of life.”

The letter comes one day after officials from All Aboard Florida announced a 2016 launch for the proposed Miami-to-Orlando service, the same time as a Miami-to-West Palm Beach rail corridor.

Scott asked Michael Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida, to “be sensitive” to the concerns of residents, as well as consider drawbridge crossings over the St. Lucie, New and Loxahatchee rivers.

On June 26, Republican Sen. Joe Negron voiced his opposition to the projected passenger rail service.

Touting the project as a private venture, Scott included $10 million in the state budget for train noise buffers and another $230 million for an Orlando International Airport rail terminal for use by All Aboard Florida.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.