Brightline clears legal hurdle in Treasure Coast dispute

A rendering of the first five Brightline trains set to start running in 2017
A rendering of the first five Brightline trains set to start running in 2017

All Aboard Florida’s controversial Brightline railway project came out on top of another legal challenge Friday, when a Tallahassee judge reportedly approved a key environmental permit for the Miami-to-Orlando rail service.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Administrative Law Judge Bram Canter shot down a challenge from the Indian River Farms Water Control District, which contended that new bridges built over canals by Brightline could increase flood risks in Indian River County.

Canter’s decision defended the St. Johns River Water Management District’s issuance of the permit in August last year.

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This isn’t the first roadblock Brightline has faced, especially from the Treasure Coast. Martin and Indian River counties filed suit last year attempting to block the project, and All Aboard executes reportedly believe a new bill in the Florida Legislature is aimed at preventing the project from finishing its Orlando stretch.

Brightline is expecting to launch service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach this summer.

The news comes a little more than a month after All Aboard’s parent company, Fortress Investment Group, announced it was being acquired by Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group Corp. in a deal valued at $3.3 billion. [Palm Beach Post]Sean Stewart-Muniz