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Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:57

Citizens working to stop Port rail expansion

Written by  Many contributors,compiled by Team SCPA

Posted August 27, 2015, last revised August 28, 2015 at 10:12am
Environment + Port Canaveral Authority's rail expansion plans

INDEX / compiled events, news and opinion
Stop rail expansion, sign petition:
 Action! Sept. 3 attend or call Brevard County Commissioners
County Commissioner email addresses + sample letter
County Commissioner Resolution opposes port rail route, Florida Today
Resolution opposing Port rail, Ted Lund blog post
Who does the Port Authority answer to? by Sue Ford
Port Canaveral Authority plans won't work now or later, by John Elis
Rail extesnion a train wreck for Indian River Lagoon, by Citizens Against the Train
Petition: Stop Port Authority's proposed rail, SCPA info, Doug Sphar opinion


Action! Sept. 3: Attend or call Brevard County Commissioners

September 3rd – 5:00 PM at the Brevard County Commission Chambers at Viera Government Center, Building C, Viera.

Help OUR lagoon environment!  For the water, wildlife, our property values and the next generation.  
SAVE THE DATE – September 3rd at 5:00 PM in the Commission Chambers at Viera – the Brevard County Commissioners will consider the a Resolution opposing the rail expansion. If enough people make the time to be there it will help them know we want our lagoon, wildlife, environment and property values protected!   

If you just can’t make it, send email to the Commissioners -- see email addresses below.


Brevard County Commissioners’ email addresses:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Robin Fisher
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Jim Barfield
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Trudie Infantini
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. = Curt Smith
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – Andy Anderson
Dear Commissioner XXX,
We strongly support the Indian river Lagoon, Wetlands and Wildlife Refuge.  Not only are thee treasures a plus for our ectourism industry, county revenues and property values, but they are a free natural gift that, once destroyed, are gone forever.  Please support the Resolution to oppose a freight train running through our home on September 3, 2015.


County commissioner resolution opposes port rail route

Florida Today, by Dave Berman, August 25, 2015

Brevard County Commissioner Jim Barfield wants his fellow commissioners to take a stand against having railroad tracks traverse over the Banana River.

Port Canaveral officials have proposed creating a new cargo rail line from the north side of the port.

Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Walsh has said rail is important to the port's growth as a cargo facility and to the region's overall needs. He said rail would be an environmentally friendly way to move cargo by reducing truck traffic.

One plan calls for the port to build 11 miles of rail over the Banana River and through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, then connecting with a 17-mile stretch of existing rail through the Kennedy Space Center en route to the mainland.

It is one of several options for Port Canaveral's proposed cargo rail expansion project. Others are a route generally following the State Road 528 corridor and a route involving existing tracks through Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.


Resolution opposing Port rail from Brevard County Commissioner Barfield

Ted Lund Outdoors, by Ted Lund, August 25, 2015

As previously mentioned, Brevard County District 2 Commissioner Jim Barfield is presenting a resolution opposing the Canaveral Commercial Rail Extension at the commission's Sep. 3. meeting. We've obtained a copy of the resolution, which was written with the help of numerous stakeholders within Brevard County, including former Port Commissioner Sue Ford and NoFill NoKill founder, Alex Gorichky.

The meeting will be held in the County Commission Chambers, Building C, First Floor, Viera Government Center beginning at 5 p.m. on Sep. 3. Opponents and supporters of the rail project will be given 5 minutes each to speak on the topic.

For more information, visit Ford's website and online petition or NoFill NoKill on Facebook.


Who does the Port Authority answer to?
By Sue Ford, former Commissioner, Port Canaveral Authority

The Port Canaveral Authority ONLY answers to the voters of the 5 Port Districts. The Florida legislature will never get involved in the operation of the Port UNLESS people bring something to their attention that they are doing wrong and then only if the Florida legislature agrees! The State does NOT have the time or the money to watch over all of their "special districts" and  that is why they have ELECTED boards instead of appointed! We, the People are supposed to handle it by voting out commissioners that are not responsive to their constituents. (Unfortunately, too few people seem to understand this and people aren't always interested in who gets elected.)

[Sue Ford is founder of Stope the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project, see link.]


Port Canaveral Authority Plans won't work now or later

By John Elis. Originally published as a Letter to the Editor, Florida Today, August 6, 2015.
Republished with the author's permission.

PCA (Port Canaveral Authority) Plans Won’t Work Now or Later 

Port Canaveral Authority will not have a strong market share of container cargo to compete with existing ports like Miami, Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Savannah. Read their web pages. PCA will be dwarfed as their expansion plans continue. 

• PCA has less than 2,000 feet of dockage and two antique cranes. 

• Miami has 5,600 feet of container ship dockage serviced by over 10 cranes and new Post Panamax cranes. They are reestablishing dockside rail and have dredged to 50 feet. Their expansion plan will dwarf PCA. 

• Fort Lauderdale has six piers, each longer than Port Canaveral.

• Jacksonville has four mobile cranes; 2,200 feet of dockage. Their expansion plans for another terminal will also dwarf PCA. 

• Savannah has 25 cranes servicing 9,300 feet of dockage and eight sets of train tracks to move containers. 

All should read the Port Charter renewed in 2014 by the Legislature. It states major capital improvements are to be put to the district for approval and paid for by taxing the district. Instead, PCA has assumed commercial debt. When PCA hasn’t adequate market shares and cannot pay the debt, the charter provides legal means for PCA to impose an ad valorem tax on Port District properties. No debate or discussion; Port District residents own the bad debt.

The cost of rail as planned is unsupportable unless through CCAFS. I will still question viability of this expansion. The PCA must terminate their container and rail plans and Gulftainer contract. It won’t work today or in tomorrow’s market.


Rail extension a train wreck for Banana River + Indian River Lagoon

Citizens Against the Train, Feb. 24, 2015

… Port Canaveral is touting the project as a boon for the local economy. Sportsmen, environmentalists and a former Port Authority and county commissioner, however, say they couldn’t imagine a greater man-made threat to the already imperiled ecosystems of the Banana and Indian River lagoons.

“You couldn’t think of a worse place to put this (rail link) if you tried,” says Sue Ford, who represented District IV of the CPA from 1984 until 1990 when she ran for and won a seat on the Brevard County Commission. Ford believes the CPA proposals are tone-deaf to Floridian’s concern for the environment.

“Seventy-five percent of the voters in Florida voted in favor of Referendum 1 (to acquire and restore Florida conservation lands) last year,” Ford says. “That’s pretty compelling and shows you this isn’t a partisan issue. People in Florida love and care about our environment. The time for projects like this has passed.” ...

… “The State of Florida and Brevard County are making a huge investment in ecotourism, to bring people to the Space Coast and experience an environment like the northern end of the lagoon,” Gorichky says. “It’s insane to think that this would even remotely fall in line with that (goal). Eco-tourisim is a huge boost for our local economy. The economic impact from this project is limited at best; a couple of jobs for guys loading and unloading cargo. We’re putting every bit of our eco-tourism investment at risk. As goes the lagoon, so go we.”

Long-term concern

Dr. Grant Gilmore has conducted studies for state and federal projects throughout the lagoon system, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Canaveral National Seashore for more than 43 years. Over that time, Gilmore has identified more than 400 species that call the lagoon home. He has also documented its dramatic environmental decline and dreads the thought of another manmade, earthen-dam causeway in the northern end of the lagoon.

“The northern Banana River Lagoon serves as a recharge area for the rest of the system,” Gilmore says. “These types of causeways do things. They restrict flow and encourage sedimentation preventing the windfetch-driven flow that’s absolutely necessary to the health of the system — that’s pretty well documented.

“This would put the entire northern end of the Banana River Lagoon at risk,” Gilmore says. “We’ve had enough bad things happen in the lagoon. This is a major recruitment area for more than a dozen species of commercially and recreationally important fish. If they build something like this in that area, you might as well forget about the northern region of the lagoon.”

Ed. note: Citizens Against the Train is an organization whose focus is fighting All Aboard Florida high speed rail, an issue that is separate from the Port Canaveral Authority rail expansion.



Stop Port Canaveral Rail Extension
Sign the petition!

Petition: Stop Port Authority's proposed rail

Contributors: Sue Ford, Doug Sphar, John Elis, Mary Hillberg, Dorothee Custer. Compiled by Team SCPA.


Last modified on Wednesday, 02 September 2015 15:50
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