The Palm Beach Post: All Aboard Florida trains would delay first responders March 12, 2015 careadmin
Posted on March 12, 2015
All Aboard Florida’s express passenger trains would delay emergency responders on the Treasure Coast from reaching those in need, sheriffs in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties warned Tuesday.
In a letter to All Aboard Florida’s President and Chief Development Officer Michael Reininger, the three sheriffs said they have “sincere reservations” about the project, and urged the company to “remain cognizant of the certainty that this will adversely impact public safety.”
“Our jurisdictions have significant populated areas bifurcated by railroad tracks,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara and Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar wrote. “This presents a real-time dilemma. If rail traffic significantly increases, passing trains can and will prevent emergency first responders from expeditiously reaching points of need.”
“In an emergency response, a delay of seconds could mean the difference between life and death,” the three sheriffs wrote. To view the letter, click here.
Lynn Martenstein, vice president for All Aboard Florida corporate communications, said the company is “committed to working with first responders and emergency personnel throughout the corridor.”
“All Aboard Florida’s passenger trains will clear all grade crossings in less than 60 seconds, which is significantly less than a typical traffic-signal cycle” Martenstein said. “The company is making safety improvements at all grade crossings.”
All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 passenger trains a day between Miami and Orlando on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks. Miami-to-West Palm Beach service is expected to begin in late 2016 with the Orlando leg starting in 2017.
In October, John Couris, president and CEO of Jupiter Medical Center, expressed concerns that All Aboard’s trains could delay first responders’ efforts to get critically injured or sick patients to the hospital’s emergency room.
The FEC tracks are just east of Jupiter Medical, which serves as the main emergency center for Tequesta residents. Roughly 20 percent of emergency room patients reach the hospital by ambulance, officials said.