From the very beginning, Joe Flescher has continued to propose the best possible transportation improvements for Indian River County at the least tax payer expense possible, and to prioritize every Brightline Higher-Speed Rail issue in regard to how they were creating safety issues for all schools, businesses, vehicles, passengers, all residents, and our animals of Indian River County.
And, as it became apparent that completely stopping the train was no longer an option, this commission switched gears to ensure that Brightline would become responsible for the upgrading of all of Indian River County’s at grade crossings. Brightline’s investment covers over 31.6 million dollars in safety enhancements.
From the Hometown News account of the June 9th, 2021, news conference;
In a dramatic conclusion to a seven-year battle concerning high speed trains, Indian River County Commissioners and Brightline Trains have agreed to a settlement that will end the county’s lawsuit and require Brightline to pay most of the cost of safety improvements at train crossings. In a sign of how significantly the tide has turned, County Commission Chairman Joe Flescher said, “…we are going to be very fortunate to have a partnership, a relationship with Brightline as they travel through our community, but safely.” Within Indian River County, there are 32 locations where the train track intersects with an existing roadway. The agreement lays out responsibilities for safety improvements at those intersections. County Administrator Jason Brown agreed with Commissioner Flescher’s upbeat analysis, saying, “I think we have a good product here, that is going to be beneficial for the residents and visitors to Indian River County, to ensure that the railway is as safe as possible as Brightline comes through here.”
Of the total cost for safety improvements estimated at $31,604,565, Indian River County will be responsible for a small portion, with a cost capped at $905,000.
“The most important thing is that there will be over $31.6 million worth of safety improvements to enhance the better wellbeing of our citizens,” said Commissioner Flescher. “I believe we’re going to be in good shape when all of these safety improvements and enhancements are installed and in place.”
-Written by Mike Winikoff