Florida passenger rail proposal emerges again in Senate
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (News Service of Florida) – A controversial proposal for the state to oversee aspects of high-speed rail – intended to slow a planned private passenger-rail service linking Orlando and Miami – has been filed again in the Senate.
Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has proposed 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.
The bill came as part of a long-running fight against All Aboard Florida’s Brightline rail service, which is planned to carry passengers between Miami and Orlando. Residents and local governments in the state’s Treasure Coast region have fought the service, which might begin serving a stretch from Miami to West Palm Beach later this year.
A similar proposal Mayfield filed for the 2017 legislative session failed to advance after receiving unanimous backing in the Transportation Committee. The House version failed to get through its first committee.
Rep. MaryLynn Magar, a Tequesta Republican who co-sponsored the House version of the earlier proposal, has said she intends to file again for the 2018 session, which starts in January.