Myth vs. Reality According to the Canaveral Port Authority

As mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to take a look at the Myth vs. Facts publication that the Canaveral Port Authority put out. This is the first installment.

MYTH NO. 1: The Port Canaveral Commercial Rail Will Be Built on Causeways and block river flow

After last Thursday's public relations nightmare, The Canaveral Port Authority distributed a informative handout entitled Port Canaveral Rail Extension Myths vs. Facts. In it, the CPA asserts the notion that its railway will be built on filled-in berm causeways is a myth. 

Closer examination of the application materials currently on file from the CPA with the National Surface Transportation Board  — the federal entity charged with examining and permitting the Port project — tells a largely different story.

Two of the four components of the CPA's preferred routes that cut directly across a National Wildlife Refuge and No Motor Zone both include man-made, filled causeways extending about 1/3 of the distance across the Banana River Lagoon — a distance of a little more than a mile.

In fact, according to the detailed plans and drawings, there is exactly 6,000 feet of causeway in each.

According to the engineering schematics.

But don't take my word for it.

Check it out at the NSTB website with the CPA's official application documents, current as of Sunday morning, May 3, 2015.

Out of the 174 pages included, you'll find exacting, detailed maps  like this one:

Note the causeway proposed in the CPA's application packet to the NSTB includes a causeway that extends 1/3 of the width of the river (totaling 6,000 feet), from the north side of Port Canaveral into the No Motor Zone, Manatee Sanctuary and National Wildlife Refuge.

Note the causeway proposed in the CPA's application packet to the NSTB includes a causeway that extends 1/3 of the width of the river (totaling 6,000 feet), from the north side of Port Canaveral into the No Motor Zone, Manatee Sanctuary and National Wildlife Refuge.

You'll also find detailed engineering drawings like this one, showing a cross- section of how the causeway will be built in the river, with fill and the use of rip-rap.

If it looks familiar, that's because It's the same sort of construction used on the earthen-dam causeways spanning the river at SRs 528 and 520.

Engineering renderings of proposed rail features for the Port Canaveral Commercial Rail Extension. Note the diagram in the upper right hand corner. That's the cross-section of an earthen-dam berm causeway to support the rail line.

Engineering renderings of proposed rail features for the Port Canaveral Commercial Rail Extension. Note the diagram in the upper right hand corner. That's the cross-section of an earthen-dam berm causeway to support the rail line.

Bearing these facts in mind, you can understand the confusion generated by CPA leader John Walsh – among the 300 anglers, boaters, fishing guides, conservationists and journalists in attendance — when he said that CPA's plans on file with the NSTB "don't include" a causeway option.

So, there are several potential reasons for this.

A) The CPA has not submitted its revised plan which removes any concept or mention of berm or causeway.

B) The CPA has submitted a revised plan, omitting any references to berm and the NSTB hasn't updated its website.

C) The third option is too ugly to suggest, but it is implausible that a savvy executive like Walsh could actually utter that type of statement and not think he'd get caught.

Everybody has a right to be heard in this discussion, as long as their voice is educated and informed.

I highly recommend that you take a look at these documents for yourself and draw your own conclusion. 

Coming soon: MYTH NO. 2 — The commercial rail will be bad for seagrasses.