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SunRail Phase II Receives $93.4 Million FTA Grant

Florida's SunRail commuter rail received a $93.4 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to extend the 61-mile line. The grant will cover half the capital costs for the 17.2-mile extension from Orlando to Osceola County.
October 11, 2015, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The Sept. 28 ceremony in Kissimmee, Fla., where Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Therese McMillan signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement for a $93.4 million federal grant, was a truly bipartisan event. 

Orlando Health/Amtrak Station

Attending was central Florida's congressional delegation and local leaders including House Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets Chairman John Mica (R), Representative Alan Grayson (D), Representative Corrine Brown (D), Representative Daniel Webster (R), Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (D), and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) that operates SunRail, according to FTA's press release.

"The 17.2-mile Phase II South commuter rail line extension [PDF] will extend service from south of Orlando through Kissimmee to Poinciana in Osceola County," writes Steven Taubenkibel for FTA.

The project will improve transit service to regional employment, entertainment, cultural and retail destinations, including the Orlando Central Business District, and through transit connections to the Orlando International Airport, Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and the Lake Nona mixed-use commercial community.

"Officials said the Full Funding Grant Agreement commits $93.4 million in funding from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program," writes Michael Lopardi of WFTV. "The funding amount represents roughly half of the project's $186.9 million estimated total cost. The remaining costs are covered by the state of Florida and Orange and Osceola counties."

The project will include four new commuter rail stations -- Meadow Woods in Orange County and Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee Amtrak and Poinciana in Osceola County -- the purchase of two locomotives and four passenger cars and the construction of a vehicle storage and maintenance facility

The 61-mile commuter rail line launched in 2014. The project was considered controversial in its early formation due to CSX Railroad as noted here in 2011.

 "SunRail is Florida's second commuter rail system after South Florida's Tri-Rail," according to Wikipedia.

Hat tip to AASHTO Journal.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, September 28, 2015 in Federal Transit Administration
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