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SunRail
Overview
Type Regional rail
Status Late Planning Stages
Locale Central Florida
Termini DeLand, FL
Poinciana, FL
Stations 18
Operation
Character At-grade
Technical
Line length 61 mi (98 km)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Central Florida Commuter Rail route
Legend
Abbreviated in this map
Amtrak Silver Service to New York
Unknown route-map component "ENDEa"
Station on track
DeLand (Amtrak station)
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
DeBary/Fort Florida Road
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Sanford/State Road 46
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Lake Mary
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Longwood
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Altamonte Springs
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Maitland
Stop on track
Winter Park/Park Avenue (Amtrak station)
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Florida Hospital
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Lynx Central Station (downtown Orlando)
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Church Street Station (downtown Orlando)
Junction from right
Proposed Orange Blossom Expressway service
Station on track
Orlando (Amtrak station) /
Straight track
Orlando Regional Medical Center
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Sand Lake Road
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Meadow Woods
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Osceola Parkway
Station on track
Kissimmee (Amtrak station)
Unknown route-map component "eHST"
Poinciana Industrial Park
Unknown route-map component "ENDEe"
Abbreviated in this map
Amtrak Silver Service to Miami

SunRail (formerly referred to as Central Florida Commuter Rail or CentRail) is a proposed commuter rail system in the Central Florida (Orlando) area. The proposal had been rejected by the Florida Legislature in 2008 and in early 2009. On December 8, 2009 the proposal was passed along with funding for South Florida's Tri-Rail system. The legislation is now awaiting a signature from the Governor, which is expected.[1] Under the original proposal, the rail line was expected to be fully completed and running sometime in 2014 (with the first phase operating as early as 2012). If completed, the SunRail will run for 61 miles along the CSX Transportation "A" Line (former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad main line) from Poinciana Boulevard near Kissimmee through Downtown Orlando to DeLand. The line is presently used by two daily Amtrak round trips, the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star, as well as by numerous CSX freight trains. It was also used by an Amtrak tri-weekly trip, the Sunset Limited from Orlando to Los Angeles, which has been suspended indefinitely due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The new commuter rail system is to be financed by the counties, the state, and the federal government.

Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, the City of Orlando and Osceola County were the partners in the project. The local partners are to foot 25% of the bill,to be matched by the State of Florida. The remaining 50% is to come from a Federal transit "New Starts" grant funds. The total cost of the system was estimated at $615 million.

Orlando's Amtrak station would also be a connecting station for the proposed Orange Blossom Expressway trains.

Contents

History

On November 29, 2007, the State of Florida agreed to pay $491 million to CSX to purchase the "A" Line from DeLand to Poinciana outright. The money was above and beyond the $615 million quoted for the system, which was being used to makes track improvements, construct train stations and purchase rail cars. CSX would have still run some limited freight at night on the "A" Line, but most freight traffic would have been rerouted.[2]

The Florida Legislature approved the CSX-Florida Department of Transportation agreement in order for project construction to begin. However, the legislature failed to consider the agreement in the 2008 session. At issue were provisions regarding liability and indemnification. Commenting on the bill, state senator Paula Dockery said, "I don't envision a time anytime soon where thoughtful senators are going to say that there's some kind of good public policy involved in taking liability away from somebody who was at fault and putting it on the taxpayers of the state of Florida."

Despite this defeat, the contract between CSX and Florida DOT was in place through June 30, 2009, and the legislature planned to use another opportunity to consider and approve the agreement in the 2009 legislative session.[3][4] Meanwhile, the first segment of the project had already been approved to enter Final Design by the Federal Transit Administration on August 11, 2008.

On January 14, 2009, the SunRail name and logo were presented to the public by City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.[5] Progress continued to move slowly forward on the project until the state legeslative session on April 30, 2009 when the project was once again defeated by a 23-17 vote. The movement against the project, which was once again led by state senators Paula Dockery and Mike Bennett, continued to revolve around an amendment that would have approved a $200 million insurance policy for SunRail. This, coupled with an overall lack of support for the project from the South Florida delegation (which included senators Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, Nan Rich of Weston and Frederica Wilson of Miami) effectively killed the project.

After the second failure, with the deadline to purchase the tracks in question from CSX looming, the State initially pulled the plan from the legislative agenda, endangering as much as $307 million in federal funds that had been promised to SunRail and would be taken away if the plan failed. Nearly $27 million of that federal money has already been spent to purchase rail equipment and land for stations, although it is unknown whether or not the State of Florida will have the pay the money back to the federal government. However, CSX rescinded the deadline on June 29,[6] permitting more negotiation time for insurance arrangements. An agreement on insurance was finally reached, and lawmakers convened a special session in December of 2009 that passed the House on December 7th and the Senate on December 8th. It is also hoped that additional Federal money may be attracted to reduce the financial burden on the State.[7]

Station stops

The following station stops were proposed:

Approval votes

  • Orange County - 7-0 - July 19, 2007 [1]
  • City of Orlando - 7-0 - July 23, 2007 [2]
  • Seminole County - 5-0 - July 24, 2007 [3]
  • Osceola County - 5-0† - July 30, 2007 [4]
  • Volusia County - July 31, 2007 [5]

† Osceola County had agreed in principle, but was in the process of examining how to fund their $9.3-million share.

References

  1. ^ http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/dec/08/081912/sunrail-bill-passage-gets-boost-deal-union/news-breaking/
  2. ^ News & Events - CFRail.com
  3. ^ Miller, James (May 1, 2008). "Senate applies brakes to commuter rail". Daytona Beach News-Journal. http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/Headlines/frtHEAD02POL050108.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-02.  
  4. ^ "State won't buy CSX track in Central Florida". Tampa Bay Business Journal. May 6, 2008. http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2008/05/05/daily9.html?t=printable. Retrieved 2008-05-06.  
  5. ^ Schlueb, Mark (January 14, 2009). "Logo for proposed commuter rail unveiled". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/orl-bk-sunrail-logo-011409,0,7552957.story. Retrieved 2009-01-14.  
  6. ^ http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orl-commuter-rail-csx-062609,0,43843.story
  7. ^ http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orl-sunrail-commuter-legislature-070209,0,7151760.story

External links

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