The New River and sailboats are inseparable. With naught but drawbridges in their way east of I-95 and Tri-Rail’s New River bridge, sailboats frequent that part of the river. Even the mighty US-1 bows to the sailboats by tunneling beneath the river.

A threat looms on the horizon, however. Passenger rail service on the Florida East Coast (FEC) corridor could mean a 55′ bridge over the New River, limiting the height of sailboat masts. According to a Sun-Sentinel blog post, Mayor Jim Naugle, a supporter of the FEC project, laid down the law, saying, “Thou shalt not restrict navigation.”

I fully agree with his desire to protect boat traffic. I was at a public meeting for the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge over the Middle River and saw the majority of attendees voice their support for a drawbridge to replace the current low fixed span. Despite the added costs, I would agree with them as well. When you see all its canals and rivers, you can understand why Fort Lauderdale claims the title “Venice of America”. But if they do not keep these canals open to boats, they cannot accurately keep the title.

Fort Lauderdale should vigorously protect the navigation rights of boaters. They must realize, though, that it comes at a cost. Just as a tunnel was constructed on US-1 at a much higher cost, a tunnel could be constructed on the FEC tracks for passenger service. The thing is, when the state cannot foot the bill for it, the city must be willing to pay for the expense. Throw another tax on the rich sailboat owners if you must. I’m sure they would rather pay more and keep their river open.

Photo by Flickr user scottlenger.


Related posts:

  1. Miami - Jacksonville Amtrak Service; Another Critical Link to the Statewide Passenger Rail Network
  2. Tri-Rail Service Improvements
  3. South Florida Needs Passenger Rail Service Now on the FEC!
  4. Tri-Rail Shuttle Shuffle
  5. Florida Makes Its High-Speed Rail Bid
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3 Responses to Sailboats vs. FEC Passenger Rail

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how wide the river is in this area?

  2. JM Palacios says:

    I don’t think it’s very wide here. If you’ve ever been down to Fort Lauderdale’s riverfront where the current FEC tracks cross, you’ll know. Google Maps estimate is about 150` wide. It’s actually a little narrower than it is at the US-1 tunnel.

  3. Andy says:

    Beautiful picture.

    Biscayne Times did an article this month on the new FEC passenger rail effort. In the end, it seems it all just comes down to money. Do we have it; will we spend it, etc.

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