Brightline questions legality of rail bill
A spokeswoman for the Brightline passenger-rail system questioned the legality of a newly filed bill that would require the state to oversee aspects of the planned rail line.
Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, on Friday filed a measure (SB 572), called the “Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act,” which in part would give the state Department of Transportation oversight of issues not preempted by federal law.
The measure also would require private passenger-rail operations to cover the costs of installing and maintaining safety technology at crossings unless contracts are reached with local governments.
“It unconstitutionally targets a private company and private property rights in an effort to stop a much-needed transportation alternative,” Ali Soule, a spokeswoman for All Aboard Florida's Brightline, said in a prepared statement.
Soule added that the company “continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to safety,” while imploring people on the Treasure Coast opposed to the passenger rail service to work with the company “rather than continuing to fruitlessly waste taxpayer dollars.”
The bill --- a similar measure failed to pass during the spring 2017 session --- is part of a long-running fight against Brightline, which is planned to carry passengers between Miami and Orlando.
Residents and local governments in the state's Treasure Coast region have spent the past couple of years fighting the service, which might begin serving a stretch from Miami to West Palm Beach later this year.
Mayfield's proposal is filed for the 2018 session, which starts in January. Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta, has said she intends to file a House version.
News Service of Florida