Port Canaveral Rail Project Moving Through Federal Process
By John Walsh, Canaveral Port Authority CEO // April 3, 2015
Port committed to protecting the environment
The Canaveral Port Authority is a major economic driver in the East Central Florida market.
Port Canaveral is among the world’s top three busiest cruise ports and we are poised to expand our cargo operations to reach into southeast and Midwest U.S. distribution networks.
Our existing bulk materials tenants also are growing. Last year, we signed an agreement that significantly will increase our cargo capabilities with the opening of a new container terminal. We expect soon to attract a major auto-maker to facilities that already are being designed.
Because of this growth, the Canaveral Port Authority has submitted a proposal to bring direct rail capabilities to the Port.
We recognize that some in the community have questions about the environmental effects of freight rail. We want everyone to know that the Port is committed to protecting the environment. We believe that a rail extension not only will bring new jobs to our region, but also will have numerous environmental benefits—including taking thousands of trucks off our local highways.
We recognize that some in the community have questions about the environmental effects of freight rail. We want everyone to know that the Port is committed to protecting the environment.
We believe that a rail extension not only will bring new jobs to our region, but also will have numerous environmental benefits—including taking thousands of trucks off our local highways.
Last year, we began the process of seeking approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to build the Port Canaveral Rail Extension.
The first step in that process is for the STB to conduct an independent, comprehensive environmental review of the project. The review kicked off with public scoping meetings that were held in November.
Last week, we provided the STB with detailed information about potential routes for the rail extension, our plans for operating the rail line, and the amount of cargo and traffic that the rail line might carry in the future.
We also are conducting further study into an alternative route that would parallel State Road 528. This information should allow the STB to continue its environmental review work. If the STB requests additional information, we will provide it.
Eventually, the STB’s work will result in publication of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). When the EIS is published, the STB will invite the public to attend meetings and submit written comments.
The Port Authority will be listening, too. If the public has ideas about how we can make the project more environmentally friendly, we want to hear them.
In the end, we all want a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We believe that the Port Canaveral Rail Extension can accomplish both of those goals, and we want everyone’s help to ensure that it does.
For more information about Port Canaveral, visit Portcanaveral.com
BELOW VIDEO: Port Canaveral was jammed on February 15 with both spectators and cruise ship passengers as, for the first time ever, six cruise ships tied up at the port’s docks.