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FL DOT Head: Transit Projects Like SunRail Could Hurt "Traditional" Transportation

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 05:29 PM

FL DOT secretary Ananth Prasad (second from left) at the Volusia County SunRail meeting. (Photo from the Florida DOT Facebook page)


(Orlando, Florida -- WMFE) Florida's transportation secretary says cities like Orlando might have to tap into state funding for road widening and other transportation projects to operate the proposed SunRail commuter rail line.

Secretary Ananth Prasad spent Tuesday in Central Florida as part of a whirlwind tour of the planned rail line. He held six public meetings, starting in Volusia County and ending in Osceola.

Prasad said other badly needed transportation projects in Central Florida will be hurt if local governments have to pay for SunRail’s operating deficits.

"I just want to make sure the local governments, the mayors and commissioners understand that, and the local citizens understand, that they are making a choice," he warned. "They are making a choice to go towards mass transit at the expense of other traditional transportation projects."

But Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said his city needed the rail line. "If we want to grow in a fashion that will allow us to maintain the quality of life that we have come to expect in Central Florida, and have transportation alternatives and have jobs that will be stimulated by transit oriented development, then it's a must that we get SunRail."

The partners in SunRail are ready to start building. Governor Rick Scott is expected to decide by the end of the week whether to approve the commuter rail line.

You can listen to the whole story here.

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