Rick Scott Finds a Train He Likes: $1.2 Billion SunRail

Categories: Broward News
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He didn't like the idea of an almost-free high-speed train, and he vetoed plans to restore a Holocaust rail car, but Gov. Rick Scott finally found a train he likes -- the SunRail, with a price tag of $1.2 billion, including a cost of more than a half-billion dollars to the state.

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad made the announcement this morning, saying that the other half of the money to fund the project has been confirmed by the federal government.

Now, instead of the state paying only $200 million of a $2.6 billion high-speed train that had planned to extend through West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami by 2020, this commuter train goes from DeLand through downtown Orlando and south to Poinciana.

It's a 61-mile route, according to the Florida Department of Transportation, on a track that's already been built.

The first part of the SunRail, a 31-mile stretch from DeBary to Orlando, is expected to be ready by 2013.

The governor's decision is, well, mystifying.

The bullet train Scott rejected would have initially linked Orlando and Tampa at a speed of 168 mph -- under an hour for the trip. Five years after that, it was scheduled for the extension through West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami to be complete.

The federal government offered $2.4 billion for the $2.6 billion project, and transportation officials swore up and down that there wouldn't be any financial burden dumped on the state, but the governor rejected it anyway.

He bashed the project because of its use of federal stimulus money, then left $370 million of the feds' cash in the budget this year for other uses.

Now South Florida gets shafted out of a train, with a much larger cost than the high-speed rail he nixed.

Prasad says the state's money for the SunRail -- which was approved by the state Legislature in 2009 -- has already been appropriated in the budget for the project.


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7 comments
dude
dude

WELL this is just a lot of BAD reporting.

if you look, where are the traffic problems and who would use them.... I didn't know there were traffic problems going from Orlando to Miami, or Orlando to Tampa.  (well tampa does have some issues).

but if you look at who would really use it, and how much time it saves for the price, its hard to figure who would really use it.

the tampa section takes about an hour and 15 minutes today, with no parking, waiting for trains.

but the sunrail is a commuter line, north to south thru the greater city of orlando. 

I know there are traffic problems getting around cities, not so much between cities.

get the local lines in place THEN connect the hubs.

this is the way it makes sense... not something only tourists would use.

(and the orlando to miami line would save maybe an hour, but it would cost what?  50 bucks at least?  so 100 buck per person (r/t).  now you have a family of 4, thats 400 bucks?  who would do this instead of renting a car?

Robert  Doyle
Robert Doyle

Hey y'all, the CSX sweetheart deal Dick Scott just approved is old business.This is a leftover from JEB, the other fake Texan(R) who bagged all our Carpet during his two terms as Governor. Big Dick just swept the few shards of our state JB failed to clean up for his boss.Nice going teapots, you succeeded in sending Florida into the abyss of a nearly Nazi Regime. 

MysteryTrain
MysteryTrain

what is wrong with this maniac and why aren't people running him out of town?

Even business should be demanding his ousting, Disney would benefit immensely from a train running from Miami to Orlando.

cljahn
cljahn

It's no mystery: this train won't help link South Florida to Tallahassee, allowing voters a viable alternative to taking a long drive or an expensive plane flight to have their say in the state capital.

Gefilte_Fish
Gefilte_Fish

What about Amtrak? It runs from Miami to Orlando. About $98 round trip.

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