In 2012, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), a private company, introduced a proposal for a high-speed passenger rail service known as "All Aboard Florida" (AAF aka Brightline). The project proposes "express" rail service between Miami and Orlando on the Florida East Coast (FEC) tracks. The company proposes hourly service from 6 AM until 9 PM, with 16 daily trains in each direction, totaling 32 trains per day. Trains at speeds up to 110 MPH are proposed to travel through Martin County.
The Martin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has expressed serious concerns about the impacts of the proposed service. While All Aboard Florida is proposed to travel through Martin County, no stop is planned at this time. The BOCC continues to determine the impacts of this project as more information becomes known and advocate for Martin County's interests. Martin County's concerns relate to public safety, marine impacts, our environment, our economy, and impacts to our quality of life.
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.
In August 2016, Martin County won a major victory against AAF when a federal judge ruled that Martin County has legal standing to proceed with its April 2015 lawsuit against AAF and the U.S. Department of Transportation to stop violations of our nation's environmental laws and the improper authorization of $1.75 billion in taxpayer subsidized bonds. Martin County demonstrated that without the bond allocation, Phase II of the AAF project that would run through the Treasure Coast is significantly less likely to be viable. View the press release reviewing the court opinion here. It could take several years for the lawsuits to reach trial. In the meantime, the bond financing deadline expires January 1, 2017.