JTA seeking input from stakeholders for commuter rail to St. Johns County

St. Johns, FL. — Living with traffic jams has almost become a daily way of life for many who live in St. Johns County like Michelle Vanhaagen.

“I live 3 1/2 miles from here it takes me 25 minutes to get home,” she said.

We caught up with Vanhaagen outside of the Marshalls on 312 and U.S 1 an area that’s often backed up which make a commuter rail a welcome idea.

“At this point in my life I’ve had long commutes my whole career, I like not to drive,” said Vanhaagen.

The President and CEO of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, Isabelle Renault, said there’s a need for it because of the tremendous growth they’ve experienced in less than a decade.

“A lot of the growth happened in the north part of our county kind of spilling over from Jacksonville and coming down so that triggers an interest and the need for having other alternative mode transportation,” said Renault.

And it wouldn’t just benefit those who live or work in St. Johns County but also visitors.

“We get a lot of day trippers for tourism related activities in St. Augustine and that opens the door to also people who decide they want to come down through rail in the future,” said Renault.

The possible project is still in its very early stages but here’s what JTA’s CEO said in a statement that reads in part:

“Our goal at this point is to develop a working group of stakeholders and citizens from both communities to explore this opportunity,” said Nat Ford.

It’s too soon to know the price tag but Vanhaagen is looking forward to getting her rail ticket soon as it opens.

“It would be great I have a sister that lives in Jacksonville,” she said.

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