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FCRP Opposes Track Abandonment in Sarasota County

25 Mar 2011 10:12 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

This week, FCRP President Steve Sayles spoke out against a request to abandon a portion of the Seminole Gulf Railway in Sarasota County by filing comments with the Surface Transportation Board.

Interestingly, the petition to abandon comes from homeowners who live near the little-used portion of track-- not from the railroad itself.

Many thanks to FCRP member Alex Grantt of Bonita Springs for prompting these comments.

The text of FCRP's letter follows.

--Jackson McQuigg



March 24, 2011


The Honorable Cynthia Brown

Chief, Section of Administration

Office of Proceedings

Surface Transportation Board

395 E Street, SW

Washington, DC 20423


RE: STB Docket AB-400 (Sub Number 5), Seminole Gulf Railway Adverse Abandonment, Sarasota County Florida


Ms. Brown:


This letter is to inform you of the Florida Coalition of Rail Passengers’ opposition to the adverse abandonment request concerning the portion of Seminole Gulf Railway’s line between milepost 892.00 and 891.40.


As background, the Coalition believes that abandonment of any railroad infrastructure in this portion of Florida would be a dire mistake, as such infrastructure could well be utilized in the future for commuter rail, passenger rail, or light rail transit.


The communities of Southwest Florida, of which Sarasota County is a part, are some of the fastest-growing areas of the state.


Indeed, on March 17, 2011, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune published an article entitled, “Census Data Tells Story of A Complex Decade” which noted, “despite a housing downturn and the Great Recession, Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties added more than 130,000 people in the past decade undefined the equivalent of gaining new cities the size of Sarasota, Bradenton and North Port, combined.”


This is significant. As Southwest Florida’s population grows, its needs for transportation options will increase; passenger rail, commuter rail, and light transit will almost certainly become part of Sarasota County’s future.


As such, abandoning this section of railroad would eliminate part of what ultimately might become a useful link in a transportation corridor linking Lee, Sarasota, Manatee, and Hillsborough counties and their growing populations which are already nearly 3 million people combined.


With the public’s interest in mind, therefore, we oppose the petitioner’s request for waiver and exemption of proper abandonment proceedings in this matter, and the abandonment itself.


Yours sincerely,


Stephen Sayles

President, FCRP



  • 29 Mar 2011 1:29 AM | Anonymous member
    Some of these homowners that complain about the noise from trains ought to be paying for the construction and maintenance of the ugly sound walls built next to their homes. It's a "benefit assesment" to protect their home values. Anfd that maintenace also should include to pay the costs of remving the graffiti as well, on both sides of the wall.
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