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Latest FEC Corridore meeting schedules

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I just got this email regarding the dates for the next meetings. If you want to see the FEC train tracks used for commuter rail, please make yourself present.

HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO CHOOSE A NEW TRANSIT SERVICE!

All Meetings are from 6 to 8 PM

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I just got this email regarding the dates for the next meetings. If you want to see the FEC train tracks used for commuter rail, please make yourself present.

HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO CHOOSE A NEW TRANSIT SERVICE!

All Meetings are from 6 to 8 PM

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Well, Larry, while you're stuck in traffic burning $3.00 a gallon gas and waiting for something that probably won't happen without major federal funding which is unlikely, I'll be hopping on a train that shares tracks with freight.

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By the way, Larry, TriRail failed because 1), it couldn't use the FEC tracks it initally wanted (the FEC wasn't interested in leasing or selling at that time), and 2) it was badly managed. The FEC tracks were the better choice and still are. They actually travel through real towns and cities and will take a rider from Palm Beach right into downtown Miami. With a stop at the Freedom Tower, you could easily take a train from Palm Beach and get off in Miami, walk across Biscayne Blvd and see a Heat Game.

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By the way, Larry, TriRail failed because 1), it couldn't use the FEC tracks it initally wanted (the FEC wasn't interested in leasing or selling at that time), and 2) it was badly managed. The FEC tracks were the better choice and still are. They actually travel through real towns and cities and will take a rider from Palm Beach right into downtown Miami. With a stop at the Freedom Tower, you could easily take a train from Palm Beach and get off in Miami, walk across Biscayne Blvd and see a Heat Game.

I have been on tri-rail once, it was the worst mass transit experience of my life. It took me HOURS longer than using my car. If we had a real transit system I would use it to escape the gass prices, but we don't. I don't see what would make the new system opperate any differently. It is also interesting that you mention taking the train to see a Heat game, because by the time the heat game would be over the trains would have STOPPED running. For some strange reason South Florida doesn't think it needs a 24 transit system (Miami-Dade does a little bit in the 24 hour department, but not enough). While the east tracks would be closer to cities, the system would still be plagued with delay.

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Good point about the need for 24-hour transit system. I would like to think that this new FEC plan would include around-the-clock trains. Not to have that (or at least floating schedules that work with major events happening up and down the line) seems self-defeating. You should voice your opinion at one of the upcoming meetings. Otherwise, you only have your Congregational right to beotch but don't expect much sympathy if you didn't make any effort to affect change.

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Found this in today's Miami Herald (8/7) regarding how close the FEC tracks are to becoming a commuter rail:

Back-channel talks have been under way between top state transportation officials and Florida East Coast Industries over the 82-mile corridor that runs through all of the redeveloping east-side downtowns from Miami to West Palm Beach.

''I think it's a huge opportunity to create a light-rail option,'' Stutler said last week. ``I think it would be really exciting. We've got to create more [transportation] options and we've got to be smarter how we retrofit our communities to deal with the future needs.''

Most transit experts believe the FEC corridor that Henry Flagler built is where Tri-Rail should have been from the get-go. But the 1980s-era FEC wasn't interested, so the state turned to CSX and bought the old Seaboard line along I-95.

Today, the FEC corridor is ripe for high-density, high-rise, mixed-use development. More than 1.1 million people live within a half-mile of the rail line in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Imagine what the area could become over the next three decades as population continues to rise, land becomes scarcer, traffic congestion worsens and cities retool vertically.

With a few exceptions, most of the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter is 100-feet wide -- plenty of room to lay two ribbons exclusively for FEC freight and two for future South Florida passenger service.

DIFFERENT COMPANY

And today's publicly traded FECI, headed by longtime Miami business fixture and power broker Adolfo Henriques, is a much different company than the one that wouldn't negotiate in the 1980s.

FECI is not only a major freight hauler, but one of the state's largest -- and most politically connected -- landowners, especially since it acquired the real-estate and development empire of Bush's old business partner and mentor, Armando Codina, earlier this year.

Henriques and Codina know FECI is sitting on a gold mine.

The state might agree to buy the corridor and provide the infrastructure to guarantee uninterrupted freight and passenger service. Imagine FECI agreeing to sell some of the right-of-way in return for tax credits that will help it build workforce housing near some stations and secure air rights over other key stations.

''As a resident of this community, I believe we need to work very aggressively to develop a viable public-transportation system,'' Henriques said. ``Passenger traffic [on the FEC corridor] needs to occur. We're prepared to discuss it. I'm willing to discuss anything.''

TIMING IS RIGHT

The timing is right. The corridor is needed. Traffic congestion already ranks among the top issues cited by voters in every poll. FDOT can't pave its way out of the problem. We'll worry about how Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties can pay for their respective shares another day.

Want to bet a deal gets done before Bush leaves office in January?

''I think you should stay tuned,'' Stutler said.

Got a commuting question or an idea for a future column? Contact Larry Lebowitz at [email protected] or call him at 305-376-3410.

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Found this in today's Miami Herald (8/7) regarding how close the FEC tracks are to becoming a commuter rail:

Back-channel talks have been under way between top state transportation officials and Florida East Coast Industries over the 82-mile corridor that runs through all of the redeveloping east-side downtowns from Miami to West Palm Beach.

''I think it's a huge opportunity to create a light-rail option,'' Stutler said last week. ``I think it would be really exciting. We've got to create more [transportation] options and we've got to be smarter how we retrofit our communities to deal with the future needs.''

Most transit experts believe the FEC corridor that Henry Flagler built is where Tri-Rail should have been from the get-go. But the 1980s-era FEC wasn't interested, so the state turned to CSX and bought the old Seaboard line along I-95.

Today, the FEC corridor is ripe for high-density, high-rise, mixed-use development. More than 1.1 million people live within a half-mile of the rail line in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Imagine what the area could become over the next three decades as population continues to rise, land becomes scarcer, traffic congestion worsens and cities retool vertically.

With a few exceptions, most of the FEC corridor from Miami to Jupiter is 100-feet wide -- plenty of room to lay two ribbons exclusively for FEC freight and two for future South Florida passenger service.

DIFFERENT COMPANY

And today's publicly traded FECI, headed by longtime Miami business fixture and power broker Adolfo Henriques, is a much different company than the one that wouldn't negotiate in the 1980s.

FECI is not only a major freight hauler, but one of the state's largest -- and most politically connected -- landowners, especially since it acquired the real-estate and development empire of Bush's old business partner and mentor, Armando Codina, earlier this year.

Henriques and Codina know FECI is sitting on a gold mine.

The state might agree to buy the corridor and provide the infrastructure to guarantee uninterrupted freight and passenger service. Imagine FECI agreeing to sell some of the right-of-way in return for tax credits that will help it build workforce housing near some stations and secure air rights over other key stations.

''As a resident of this community, I believe we need to work very aggressively to develop a viable public-transportation system,'' Henriques said. ``Passenger traffic [on the FEC corridor] needs to occur. We're prepared to discuss it. I'm willing to discuss anything.''

TIMING IS RIGHT

The timing is right. The corridor is needed. Traffic congestion already ranks among the top issues cited by voters in every poll. FDOT can't pave its way out of the problem. We'll worry about how Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties can pay for their respective shares another day.

Want to bet a deal gets done before Bush leaves office in January?

''I think you should stay tuned,'' Stutler said.

Got a commuting question or an idea for a future column? Contact Larry Lebowitz at [email protected] or call him at 305-376-3410.

Well, now that I know that they would like to have tracks dedicated to only freight and only to transit, I am for the project. That was always my main concern, transit having to share the tracks (we know how that turned out with Tri-Rail). I hope if it does happen, it will be run better than Tri-Rail.

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