SunRail gains FTA funding to enhance central Florida’s rail connections
The FTA grant will support the 17.2-mile second phase for SunRail's expanded commuter rail service from southern Orlando through Kissimmee to Poinciana in Osceola County.
Acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan signed the full funding grant agreement with SunRail and was joined by Congressmen John Mica, Congressman Alan Grayson and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in Central Florida earlier this week.
McMillan said the service will improve transit access to abundant regional employment, entertainment, cultural and retail destinations.
When service opens in 2019, accessible attractions will include Orlando’s Central Business District, with connections further linking the public to Orlando’s International Airport, Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios and the Lake Nona mixed-use commercial community.
FTA’s contribution to SunRail for Phase II South will fund about half the cost of the extension.
“Together, SunRail and FTA are improving the economic and physical health of the Central Florida region,” McMillan said. “FTA is proud to be a partner in Central Florida’s bold vision for true 21st Century public transportation.”
McMillan advocated the passage of a long-term surface transportation bill to fund the nation’s needed transit networks, citing United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx’s proposed GROW AMERICA Act, which would boost federal funding for transit by 70 percent.
“SunRail Phase II will help connect residents of Central Florida to jobs, education, medical care, and other services and opportunity," McMillan said. "With GROW, we can do even more to keep them connected."