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By: Oscar Pedro Musibay
Reporter-South Florida Business Journal
The long-awaited plans for commuter rail along the Florida East Coast Railwayappear to be gaining some traction after being stalled by the recession.
The Southeast Florida Transportation Council, which includes planning organizations for each county, has approved a memo of understanding (MOU) outlining the process to create the commuter service along the 85-mile FEC tracks from downtown Miami to Jupiter.
As the Business Journal reported April 18, the FEC’s sister company, All Aboard Florida, has scheduled two environmental impact hearings in South Florida on May 6 and May 7 about its plans for high-speed rail service to Orlando.
The expansion of the Tri-Rail system would not only help people get to and from work, but feed passengers to All Aboard, which will only have four stations – Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
In contrast to a decade of slow progress, eight key organizations are expected to vote on the commuter rail MOU by the end of May. Among them are Tri-Rail’s parent (the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority), the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council and the Florida Department of Transportation’s Florida Rail Enterprise.