NIMBYs Challenge Private Rail Project in Florida.
There is a tremendous amount of automobile traffic on Interstate 95 over the roughly 250 miles between Miami and Orlando in Florida. Some of it is pretty scary, too … elderly retirees in their RVs, trundling along at 50 miles an hour on one of the busiest stretches of highways anywhere in the country.
I-95 is how literally millions of people, residents or visitors to South Florida, travel to and from Disney World, just south of Orlando. Or they’re people from up North — “Snowbirds” as they are derisively called by the native Floridians — heading for any one of a hundred communities providing respite from the snow and cold. In the summertime, this stretch of highway is clogged with families visiting the Disney facilities plus amusement parks and other family-oriented attractions all along Florida’s east coast.
This is also where All Aboard Florida wants to run passenger trains — up to 16 round trips a day between Miami and Orlando with several stops in between. Since the company is a subsidiary of the freight railroad that owns the tracks, it’s an idea that makes a lot of sense … except to some of the people who live in communities along the route.
Those folks have formed Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida and are expressing outrage at the very thought of the inconvenience that will be caused by as many as 32 passenger trains a day passing through their towns and I suppose within earshot of their gated communities. One sub-group is particularly incensed because an additional 32 times a day, those trains will prevent a drawbridge from being raised to allow their sailboats and yachts to pass through to the Atlantic.
Representatives of this NIMBY organization are now seeking an appointment with Florida Governor Rick Scott so they can plead their case. He, of course, is the man who sent several billion dollars back to Washington that was to be used for construction of a high-speed rail line linking Orlando and Tampa.
(This is also the same guy who was elected Florida’s governor after serving as chief executive of a health care company that was found guilty of defrauding Medicare of many millions of dollars. Florida voters continue to amaze.)
Being familiar with that part of Florida, I have no doubt that many of the people ranting against the proposed passenger trains live in posh homes, worth millions of dollars, in gated communities. And I’ll bet they’re the same people who oppose the meager subsidy Amtrak gets every year because they think private enterprise should be running passenger trains. You mean like All Aboard Florida?
NIMBY, thy name is Selfish.