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The city of Stuart, Fla., wants a new rail bridge. Martin County, Fla., wants a new rail bridge.
That’s all U.S. Rep. Brian Mast needs to know.
With local officials offering full support, Mast can now go to Congress in an attempt to lock down federal funding for the St. Lucie River railroad bridge. The cost to replace the structure is projected to be at least $100 million, and at least one private company—Virgin Trains USA—put in the initial request for a new span to be built. Virgin Trains USA, however, is a private entity, which means there is no access to federal funding. That is where the city of Stuart and Martin County come in. The city of Stuart agreed to support the request a couple of weeks ago, and on Jan. 6 the Martin County Commission voted 4-1 to back the project. The bridge is almost 100 years old.
The Florida East Coast Railway also uses the rail bridge, and officials are hoping a new structure will help improve commerce for the marine industry. The city of Stuart and Martin County now need to decide who will formally apply for the grant. Once the grant request is submitted Mast will lobby for the money. Some say the Florida Department of Transportation should sponsor the grant.
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