Report Offers Ideas amid Continuing Brightline Debate
A Treasure Coast lawmaker plans to again pursue more state oversight of private high-speed passenger rail service, as Florida analysts have outlined a number of steps lawmakers could take.
Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, said an Oct. 31 report from the Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability backs concerns expressed by critics of the new Brightline service in South Florida that the state Department of Transportation wasn’t using its authority to regulate high-speed rail.
“The key issues they identified were the same issues addressed in the high-speed passenger rail bill that I introduced last year,” Mayfield said. “Specifically, that the Florida Department of Transportation has the authority to provide oversight of safety regulations for the railroads.”
Among the state analysts’ ideas are setting up an independent regulatory body to oversee railroad safety in Florida; updating rules on state-of-the-art railroad crossings and corridors; requiring a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort on trespassing enforcement; establishing “harsher” penalties for people caught trespassing on grade crossings; and conducting a review of statewide suicide prevention activities.
“FDOT lacks an analytical methodology for determining which crossings should be consolidated and where strategic investment should be made,” the report by the agency known as OPPAGA said