“I can’t believe you are not marching in the streets with pitchforks; this is going to ruin your county.” Bob Crandall, 2016
There was something about him. Maybe it was the confidence that radiated, or the casual way he put his hands in his pockets while looking people straight in the eye…something about him let you know that you were dealing a legend… the kind of person they don’t make anymore…
On February 24th, I attended the Stuart Chamber’s Government and Transportation Committee’s guest speaker series. On this day it was Robert “Bob” Crandall, former chief executive of American Airlines who lives in Palm City. Mr Crandall and C.A.R.E. are leaders in the fight against All Aboard Florida. (AAF)
Trying to understand All Aboard Florida is difficult. It is multi-layered and after a while its easy to glaze over. Acronyms like FDFC; EIS; ROD and the discussion of extensions and bonds can turn off even the most interested. So today I am just going to share “the simple” and “the why” of Mr Crandall’s presentation and summarize why “we need to grab our pitchforks.” I will end with a true quote form Martin Health System.
- AAF is a health and safety issue.
- There will be less business, period. Noise and vibration will all facilitate less business in Downtown Stuart, and cause structural harm to its businesses, and historic Lyric Theatre.
- Property values will decline.
- A train going 55 miles per hour takes one mile to stop. These trains will go faster.
- Pedestrians such as in Golden Gate, used to slower trains, will not correctly judge speeds. There will be accidents .
- The costs to Martin County is estimated to be $323,000 in 2016; $1,000,000 by 2020; and $3,000,00 by 2040. Taxes WILL be forced up.
- The Maritime industry will suffer greatly. Property values for marinas and homes on west side of bridge will decline. Boaters will be frustrated and leave the area.
- The Roosevelt Bridge is now closed 3 hours and 30 minutes a day; with AAF it will be closed 9 hours and 30 minutes a day.
- The 80-year-old bridge over the St Lucie River WILL get stuck…
- Dangerous substances will eventually be coming through. Freight is the long-term goal.
- We can’t win politically; we have to win legally.
For me things really set in my mind after Mr Crandall’s talk. During the question answer period the representative from Martin Health System said the following. I kid you not. He said the following: “If All Aboard Florida goes thorough, people will die.” He was speaking of ambulances stuck at tracks. Seconds count if you have a heart attack.
I thought to myself: “This is unbelievable. The most conservative of our community and the number one employer of our community just said ‘people will die.’ And the chamber has not taken a position. Why aren’t we out in the street with pitchforks?”
I think Mr Crandall is right.
Robert Crandall: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Crandall
C.A.R.E. Citizens Against the Train: https://www.citizensagainstthetrain.com
Martin Health System: https://www.martinhealth.org