When All Aboard Florida was first announced, I had my questions, like everyone else. But I approached the project with an open mind, looking for opportunities to set our community on the right path for a more sustainable and mobile future.
I finally came to the conclusion that the investment and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure will benefit such cities as Delray Beach, even though we initially will not have a stop downtown.
One important benefit of All Aboard Florida will be the introduction of quiet zones along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor, so freight and passenger trains won’t blow their horns.
The majority of this work is now being paid for by the railroad, and the small remainder will be paid for by the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization. This is an important benefit for those who live along the tracks. Keep in mind that communities have been trying to implement quiet zones for decades, but have been unsuccessful due to the cost.
The biggest benefit I see for Delray Beach is the ability to fast-track the Tri-Rail Coastal Link, the commuter rail project between Miami and Jupiter on the FEC corridor. I am a big advocate of this project. Can you imagine the positive economic and transportation impact this will have on our downtown?
South Florida Regional Transportation Agency (SFRTA) Executive Director Jack Stephens recently said that the funding for Tri-Rail’s first link to downtown Miami has been completed. With this connection comes the first Coastal Link station, and the beginning of the expansion of the current Tri-Rail system along the FEC corridor.
This gives Tri-Rail’s riders immediate access from west Boca Raton or Delray Beach to downtown Miami. This is a great start.
It is clear that All Aboard Florida is moving forward. Let’s take this opportunity to work collectively with SFRTA and AAF to realize the potential to make Delray Beach stronger and better connected.
BRUCE BASTIAN, DELRAY BEACH
Editor’s note: Bruce Bastian is vice chairman of Human Powered Delray.