Water management district signs off on rail permit


After an administrative law judge rejected a legal challenge, the St. Johns River Water Management District has approved a permit for a passenger-rail system that is planned to eventually link Miami and Orlando.

District Executive Director Ann Shortelle last week signed a final order approving the permit for All Aboard Florida's Brightline rail service, according to a document posted Wednesday on the state Division of Administrative Hearings website.

Administrative Law Judge Bram D.E. Canter issued a recommended order in March that backed approving the permit, but the matter had to return to the district for final action.

The Indian River Farms Water Control District filed a challenge to the permit, arguing that two bridges needed for the controversial rail system could obstruct water flow in two canals.

The Indian River Farms district argued, in part, that the new bridges would be too low and could block debris that would cause water to back up and lead to flooding.

But Canter issued a 23-page ruling that rejected the arguments.