Tallahassee – Governor Rick Scot, (R) Florida, will approve the much-awaited SunRail for Central Florida and Orlando Metro Area. While there were hints that he intended to approve it with setting aside over $260 million for this current fiscal year for the possible project, he publicly kept up rhetoric that he is determined to cut budgets and save Florida taxpayers from costly, unneeded and wasteful projects.
The governor is the most unpopular governor in the country and in Florida’s history according to recent opinion polls reflecting only a 29% approval rating among Florida registered voters. His blunt style of cutting programs and funding for many things has pleased Tea Party groups and other conservative Republicans, but moderate republicans and democrats have largely been angry with him constantly since he took office for cutting things for the neediest in favor of breaks for rich taxpayers and businesses. Some opinions say approval of SunRail is one of his newly changing tones to soften his image and appeal to more voters as election time nears in only 17 months.
The route, as proposed or where approved, will start in Debary, with stops in Sanford (SR 46), Lake Mary, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, Winter Park (Park Ave), Florida Hospital (Princeton), Lynx Central Bus Station, Church Street, ORMC/Amtrak/Gore Street, and Sand Lake Road. Future expansions will see it connect to Deland in the north and Poinciana in the south of the Orlando metro area.
The construction and operation of the rail line are expected to create over 5,000 jobs and have a huge economic impact for Central Florida. The state will buy the current rail lines which are owned by CSX Trains of Jacksonville, FL and help build the new freight rail lines outside of the urbanized area and limit legal liability for accidents with Amtrak.
Below is a map provided by the state DOT and Sunrail of the current and proposed stops.
Previous interview attempts with the Central Florida offices of the State DOT were declined.