St Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline updated Historic City News local reporters regarding ongoing efforts by transportation planning organizations to return passenger train service to a vital corridor once served by Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway.
“With a population of 8 million people along the Florida east coast, all eight cities, including St Augustine, are actively committed to returning passenger rail service to the corridor,” Sikes-Kline reported after last month’s “Flagler Line Forum” held in the City Commission Chambers of the Cocoa City Hall. Passenger rail service was terminated in the mid 1960′s.
“The focus of this meeting was an opportunity for each city to share individual initiatives and plans to develop stations,” the commissioner said. “Discussions centered around business and community advocacy and support, city, county, TPO official actions, comprehensive planning and zoning, development plans for stations and surrounding community and funding mechanisms used for those plans.”
Sikes-Kline, who presented for St Augustine, said our actions include:
1) prioritization of station funding in the 450th Infrastructure Improvement list
2) staff study to identify funding for station improvements
3) identifying partners and fostering support in the public and private sectors for future station improvement funding, operation and maintenance.
About 65 officials participated from the Florida Department of Transportation, AMTRAK and each of the eight station communities who are working to restore the operation of two round trip passenger trains, per day, from Jacksonville to Miami along the tracks of the Florida East Coast Railway.
The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization sponsored the meeting where at least one presenter spoke from each of the eight station communities.