Crist signs bill to get SunRail moving


Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill Wednesday that marks the beginning of the construction of the first commuter train system in Central Florida.

Crist says that the SunRail “is about jobs, jobs, jobs. If ever there was a time that we needed an infusion [of jobs] … this rail project makes our statement loud and clear.”

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer predicted at least 8,000 jobs would be created to build the $1.2 billion train system, which eventually will run 61.5 miles from Deland in Volusia County through downtown Orlando to Poinciana in Osceola County. Thousands more jobs could result from related development along the corridor, he has said.

Construction could begin in June, once a funding agreement with the federal government is made final and the tracks are purchased from the CSX railroad company in Jacksonville. In total, CSX will be paid $491 million.

Trains could begin to run along the first 30 miles — from DeBary in Volusia to Sand Lake Road in south Orange County — in late 2012, though that could slide into 2013. The second half of the system could open two years later.

When the SunRail is finally up and running, will it provide an efficient service? Will it connect to enough major cities and prove to be something that is needed in Florida, ultimately setting the stage for a high speed rail system in the future?

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