Trump looped into passenger rail dispute

unnamed(4) Critics of the return to passenger rail service along Florida’s East Coast tracks are invoking President Donald Trump in an attempt to bolster support.

In a July 24 letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Acting Assistant Secretary Lana Hurdle, the well-heeled residents’ group, “Concerned Citizens Against Rail Expansion,” contends that the Brightline private commuter rail service could have a negative impact on the safety of the part-time Florida man who now occupies the White House.

“From a safety perspective, the U.S. Secret Service and others responsible for the safety of the President should be asked to consider the safety implications that could result from speeding up freight trains (carrying dangerous substances including LNG) interspersed with fast moving AAF passenger trains on the same tracks,” the 6-page letter asserts. “These security and policy considerations should be fully examined before a RRIF loan decision is made.”

CARE last year asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to look into the potential impacts that could arise related to Florida Power & Light’s nuclear power plant on Hutchinson Island by adding passenger trains to existing freight traffic on the rails that run along the western bank of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago is located within two miles of  existing and operational FEC tracks, which will be used by the colorful trains developed under Florida East Coast Industries for its All Aboard Florida system.

In the recent missive, the group asserted that rail traffic could have an up or down impact on nearby property values.

“If the loan is made, some — including the proponents of the project — will argue that the AAF project benefits the neighbors of the three proposed rail stations in Phase I,” the letter states. “This includes the President’s Mar-a-Lago Resort, which is located near the West Palm Beach Station. Therefore, granting the loan arguably impacts the President’s property. Critics may argue the loan creates an improper benefit to a private business of the President’s. An alternative argument that we believe is more accurate is that the AAF project creates safety risks to President Trump and reduces the value of nearby properties such as Mar-a-Lago.”

Posted by Jim Turner.