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Commuter rail from Saint Augustine to Jax gets preliminary green light

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Updated: 5/14/2013 6:37 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A plan to make it easier to go from St. Augustine to Jacksonville is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Monday night, the St. Augustine City Commission voted 4 to 1 in favor of a resolution that supports the proposal of a commuter train service.

"I think that we really need to be able to get around," said Kimberly Lanee, commuter.

Lanee says the commuter rail system will not only provide relief on U.S. 1 and I-95 but also help her business.

"I've lived in big cities that have mass transit and there is no such thing as that here. I know what a boom it could do for businesses," said Lanee.

According to Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline, in reality the project is two-fold. 
"We'll be able to bring people to and from jobs and we'll also be able to expand tourism and create economic development opportunities," said Sikes-Kline.

The first proposed route starts in West St. Augustine, with various stops that include Race Track Road, Avenues, and JTB.

According to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, it is also looking into lines connecting Jacksonville to Yulee, and Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs.

But not every one is on board with the idea. Commissioner Donald Crichlow was the only city official to vote against the resolution.

"I need to know what it is, how much it's going to be and I think the average citizen is going to want to know that," said Crichlow.

According to JTA, the federal government would potentially fund half of the project, which is estimated to cost about $193.3 million.  The rest would come from taxpayers.

Sikes-Kline tells Action News it is still too early to come up with exact numbers.

The proposal now needs approval from St. Johns County, The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization board and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority board.

If it gets the green light, the project would still be years away.

We've attached the First Coast Commuter Rail Feasibility Study to this story for you to read.
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

peharri - 5/15/2013 8:56 AM
0 Votes
imtellin - they're not building a new line, they're proposing using the existing FEC track. So US-1's capacity will be unaffected, except that a significant number of people currently travelling on US1 from St Augustine to Jacksonville will no longer be driving on US-1 (or I-95), taking the train instead. Whether you believe it's cost effective or not, objectively this will cut some of the congestion you're concerned about.

imtellin - 5/14/2013 2:58 PM
0 Votes
why,, when the vast majority of the supposed 50% of st. john's county that commutes to j'ville,, lives in the nwest section of the county ??? building a commuter rail along u.s. 1 will serve no one.. the east west roads in st. john's county cannot accommodate the volume of traffic as it is... case in point c.r. 210 !!!so instead of bumper to bumper north south traffic,, it will be east west bumper to bumper traffic... and if you are going to build a commuter rail system,, you had best plan on elevating the tracks at every rxr crossing,, or the backups will be 10 x's worse !!! as someone else will pay the cost,, i'm not surprised that cosa is in favor of it ??? morons can't even keep their sewer system functioning,, can't wait to see how they schedule trains into & out of their city !!!
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