Friday, January 27, 2012
By Mark Simpson
(Orlando, Florida) State and local officials joined supporters of Central Florida’s commuter train SunRail to break ground on the project in Altamonte Springs Friday.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Buddy reflected the positive mood surrounding the $1.2 billion project. "It’s a historic day for all of Central Florida, it ushers in a new era of transportation options for our residents, it ushers in jobs, smarter growth, so a very important day," he said.
But there are concerns that the SunRail line, which is slated to start service in the spring of 2014, will be relying on the regional bus service LYNX too heavily to bring passengers closer to major destinations.
Seminole County Commissioner Carlton Henley Chairs the LYNX Board of Directors.
He says LYNX is already struggling to provide services to its existing routes and that additional SunRail capacity highlights the need for a dedicated funding source for transportation programs." I would like to see, quite frankly, a sales tax approach," he said. "I don’t want to put any burden on property, but I think a regional sales tax would produce the revenue that’s need for both roads, rail, and bus."
The SunRail line will come in two phases and eventually connect along 61 miles of track between Deland and Poinciana.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
By Mark Simpson
(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.