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'Alliance for Safe Trains' Launches a Petition to Require FDOT to Improve Brightline Safety

Photo courtesy railjournal.com
The Alliance hopes to get at least 8,000 signatures from residents along the Treasure and Space Coasts in order to grab the Governor’s attention.

Florida - Tuesday September 20, 2022: The 'Alliance for Safe Trains' has launched a petition drive to urge Governor DeSantis to direct the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to prioritize Brightline safety.

Sixty-eight people have been killed by Brightline trains since the private rail line started its first runs five years ago, according to Federal Railroad Administration data reported by the Associated Press. That is the worst fatality rate among the nation’s more than 800 railroads.

The Alliance hopes to get at least 8,000 signatures from residents along the Treasure and Space Coasts in order to grab the Governor’s attention. They are focusing on the residents who live along the train's path from Palm Beach to Cocoa in Brevard County. That's the area covered by the ongoing construction of Phase 2 of the rail line.

Once operational along that route thirty-four Brightline trains a day will reach speeds up to 110 mph while speeding through 130 street crossings.

“The old Flagler route has been the deadliest route in the country for many years, which is why past analysts recommended speed trains not be put there,” said petition manager, Susan Mehiel. “Higher speeds and more street crossings will mean even more deaths when Phase 2 goes operational.”

The petition is available at: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/make-brightline-safe and it can also be found on the 'Alliance for Safe Trains' website at: https://www.flsafetrains.com/ and on their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=%27Alliance%20for%20Safe%20Trains%27.

The petition also calls on FDOT to conduct a professional study of the potential hazards along the route at crossings, and to identify pedestrian danger zones. In addition the Alliance is calling on elected representatives from the area to have a role in the study and be involved in planning the mitigation efforts.

The state legislature-funded Florida Rail Safety Study recommended to Brightline that they put fencing along miles of open track, and create pedestrian bridges away from street crossings, as well as pedestrian channeling systems at grade crossings. However the Alliance says no one knows if FDOT is requiring these additions and who is paying for them.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded FDOT $25 million to cover the cost of adding additional fencing and other safety features along the tracks.

“The residents and voters have had no ability to communicate directly with FDOT or get answers from the company. We need better communications about study findings and funding sources,” said Mehiel said. “A task force of our elected representatives and FDOT needs to be formed so we can tackle the issues now.”

For more information go to FLSafeTrains.com.

Alliance for Safe Trains  2.jpg
Alliance for Safe Trains