In 2012, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), a private company, introduced a proposal for a high-speed passenger train service between Miami and Orlando called "All Aboard Florida" (AAF). The AAF project included train stops and residential developments in downtown Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. The project proposed to utilize the existing Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) right-of-way for the upgrade and additional tracking of the FECR rail to accommodate the passenger rail project along with higher speed freight traffic. The original proposal excluded any train stops on the Treasure Coast. Martin County and our neighboring counties to the north would have been a pass through for the high speed passenger "express" rail service between West Palm Beach and Orlando, with proposed speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour through smaller but densely populated Treasure Coast communities.
The Martin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has expressed serious concerns about the impacts of the proposed service - public safety, marine impacts, our environment, our economy and quality of life. While All Aboard Florida is proposed to travel through Martin County, no stop is planned at this time. The BOCC continues to determine the best course of action.
Since April 2015, Martin County has allocated funds and challenged AAF in federal court with regard to the financing of the AAF project and In February 2015, the BOCC voted unanimously to allocate $1.4 million dollars to fight the $3 billion AAF project. In February 2016, Commissioners unanimously approved allocating an additional $850,000 to support the completion of the litigation that is currently in process and continue the County’s engagement efforts with state and federal regulatory agencies. Martin County is a conservative steward of taxpayer dollars. Expenditures related to fighting AAF are brought before the BOCC for review and approval.
Only very recently and with the upcoming hearing on the motions for summary judgment, the parties began discussing the concepts for settlement of the federal litigation. Through counsel, the parties have diligently worked together to refine the concepts into details that could resolve Martin County's safety costs and other concerns with the project while allowing Brightline to move forward without litigating a contentious lawsuit.