Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

The Silver Rail Blog

  • 02 Jul 2009 11:46 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    On June the 23rd, 2009 the Southern High Speed Rail Commission submitted a  resolution to Congress in support of Amtrak's option 3 (c) , daily passenger rail service between New Orleans and Sanford Florida.

    Please write or call your congressman regarding the resumption of passenger rail service east of New Orleans, across the Ms and Al Gulf Coast and the Florida panhandle. 

    The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives, will be having hearings on this matter in mid July. Please let the  chairman, the Honorable Corrine Brown, know of your support for Amtrak option 3 (c), daily service.

    Contact the Committee:
    The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
    Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    2165 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-4472
    Fax: (202) 226-1270
    Thanks for your effort.
    The Sunset Team

  • 27 Jun 2009 11:16 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

    Tri-Rail votes to use gas tax money to keep trains running

    POMPANO BEACH - Tri-Rail will limp along for another year without any cuts to its schedule.

    The board that oversees the commuter train voted Friday morning to tap into $8 million in county gas tax money to avoid drastic cuts in service this fall.

    The money is normally used to pay for things like locomotives, new cars and station improvements. Instead, it will be spent just to keep the trains running.

    Tri-Rail's budget is taking a $9 million hit next year because Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties plan to cut their annual subsidies used to run the trains.

    Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, Tri-Rail's board chairman, cast the lone "no" vote against using the gas tax money to fill the budget hole.

    Eggelletion said dipping into capital improvement money won't solve Tri-Rail's long-term funding needs. Doing so, he added, will give state lawmakers another excuse not to approve a dedicated funding source for the train, such as a $2 tax on rental cars.

    Only once in the past seven years has the Legislature approved dedicated funding for Tri-Rail, only to see then-Gov. Jeb Bush veto it.

    "All of a sudden you think next year [the Legislature] is going to say yes?" Eggelletion said. "You're going to get duped."

    Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said he couldn't vote to cut service, even if the choice to use capital improvement money for operations until permanent funding is found is hard to swallow. "The public perception is that there is money in the bank," he said. "You've got to use it all up."

    While riders don't want to lose service, they also say passenger cars need to be upgraded or replaced.

    "What I don't see anyone discussing is that the trains have been breaking down for the last couple of weeks because of the heat," said Steven Daun of Boca Raton, who rides the train on weekdays to Miami.

    "Many of the air conditioners in many of the cars either don't work or circulate warm air. Tri-Rail has become the epitome of what mass transit shouldn't be."

    Tri-Rail Executive Director Joseph Giulietti said next year's $161 million capital improvements budget is unaffected because the money that's being shifted to cover day-to-day operating expenses was never appropriated. That means projects such as a new parking garage at the Fort Lauderdale Airport Station and the purchase of new locomotives and cars will still go forward.

    But in future years, Tri-Rail can't continue raiding capital improvement money because it needs that cash to apply for state and federal grants for big capital projects.

    Without additional cash for operations, Tri-Rail faced slashing the number of weekday trains from 50 to 30 and canceling all service on weekends and holidays starting Oct. 5.

    Federal transit officials have warned Tri-Rail that it would lose a $256 million federal grant if service is reduced. Tri-Rail agreed to run at least 48 weekday trains and some rush-hour trains every 20 minutes when it received the grant to build a second track several years ago.

    Michael Turnbell can be reached at, 954-356-4155, 561-243-6550 or on Twitter @MikeTurnpike.

  • 22 Jun 2009 12:37 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

  • 19 Jun 2009 3:26 PM | Deleted user

    Today is "Dump the Pump" day,0,7795632.story


  • 13 Jun 2009 10:48 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)


    Congressional delegation demands Tri-Rail keep running

    By Michael Turnbell

    Eleven members of Florida’s congressional delegation say the livelihoods of thousands of workers and the future of high speed and commuter rail in Florida all rests on Tri-Rail’s ability to get dedicated funding.

    The delegation sent a letter Friday to Stephanie Kopelousos, secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, urging that she “ensure the long-term survival of Tri-Rail by ensuring a dedicated source of funding for operations.”

    Tri-Rail faces service cuts in October, from 50 weekday trains to 30, rolling back to the same level as before a big federally-subsidized double-tracking project was completed in 2006.

    The only way cuts might be avoided is if Tri-Rail’s board decides to use local gas-tax money for operations instead of long-term capital expenses. A decision will be made at Tri-Rail’s board meeting on June 26.

    Without additional funding, Tri-Rail could completely shut down within two years.
    At least 350 Tri-Rail jobs with a payroll of $3 million will be lost if Tri-Rail service is eliminated, the delegation wrote to Kopelousos.

    Florida’s credibility to compete for federal transportation dollars also will be damaged as Congress considers a major transportation bill, the delegation added.

    The letter was signed by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, Alcee Hastings, Ron Klein, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Kendrick Meek, Robert Wexler, Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor and Alan Grayson.

    Here is the letter: Download file

    POSTED IN: U.S. House (123)
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