Commuter and High Speed Rail
1989 - Local discussion begins about commuter
rail, which becomes SunRail 22 years later.
August 2006 - The Florida Department of Transportation announces
an agreement in principle with CSX Transportation to buy 61.5 miles of
freight track through Central Florida.
Summer 2007 - Elected officials in Orange, Seminole, Osceola and
Volusia counties as well as the city of Orlando unanimously agree to
finance the local share of the commuter rail system. Their votes allow
the FDOT to move ahead with project design and planning.
August 2007 - Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is unanimously elected
chairman of the new Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission board of
governors. The commission will serve as advisor to the FDOT during the
first seven years of commuter rail’s operation and then take over
responsibility for the project.
October 2007 - With support from local government officials, the
FDOT begins negotiations to purchase key parcels of land needed to build
parking lots near stations.
November 2007 - Following more than a year’s worth of
negotiations and study of the corridor, contract documents between the
FDOT and CSX are finalized.
February 2008 - The FDOT signs an agreement with CSX that allows
commuter rail trains to travel along 61.5 miles of track now used
exclusively by freight traffic and Amtrak. The FDOT agrees to purchase
and maintain the tracks, as well as dispatch all freight and passenger
rail trains through the corridor. Also, the commuter rail team finishes
preliminary engineering of the system.
August 2008 - The Federal Transit Administration approves the
system for entry into Final Design. The FTA clearance sets the stage for
negotiation of a Full Funding Grant Agreement and federal funding of
half the project’s capital costs for the initial operating segment
between DeBary and Sand Lake Road in Orlando.
August 2008 - The FDOT hires Pete Turrell, a veteran of both
international passenger and freight rail operations, as chief operating
officer (COO) for the project.
December 2008 - Following months of community input, the Central
Florida Commuter Rail Commission selects a name and logo concept for the
January 2009 - With the recent debut of the SunRail name, the
FDOT launches an improved, user-friendly website.
February 2009 - The FDOT awards the first competitively bid
construction contract to a joint venture, led by Atlanta-based Archer
Western Contractors Ltd. and RailWorks Track Systems Inc. of New York
City, to perform construction work within the CSX Transportation
right-of-way, including track and signal work as well as platform
Spring 2010 - Todd Hammerle, who previously served as the
District 5 Maintenance Engineer for the FDOT, is named SunRail project
manager. Also, Joe Antonucci, a railroad veteran with more than three
decades of experience managing train operations, system planning and
safety, is appointed COO.
April 2010 - SunRail's official newsletter proclaims: “SunRail
Back on Track.”
December 2010 - The FDOT completes the closing documents and
finalizes the closing in escrow, clearing the way for transfer of the
CSX right-of-way to the state of Florida. The moves meet the goal of
completing the corridor acquisition by the end of 2010.
July 1, 2011 - Florida Gov. Rick Scott authorizes the FDOT, on
behalf of the state of Florida, to sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement
July 18, 2011 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joins
state officials to kick off Phase 1 of SunRail. The event, hosted by the
Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission and Florida Hospital, is held
at the site of Florida Hospital's future station stop on the line.
Numbers Worth Noting
Perhaps the most pertinent numbers regarding SunRail is the estimated
$615 million cost for a turnkey operation. Yet, several other tallies
tell a story of need and promise.
100,000: More than 100,000 additional vehicles were registered in
Central Florida between 2004 and 2008.
34: Gasoline consumption has increased an average of 34 percent
in the last decade.
88: More than 88 percent of Central Floridians polled by the
University of Central Florida believe the region needs a more balanced
transportation system, including increased transit options such as
passenger rail and buses.
77: The number of tourists visiting Central Florida is expected
to increase by 77 percent by the year 2030, adding to the region's
congested road network. More than 50 million people visited Central
Florida in 2010.
850: Orlando drivers lost $850 in time and gasoline while
creeping along in rush hour traffic in 2007, up from $510 in 2003. The
$850 cost to each Orlando driver is expected to grow with traffic
congestion and increased gasoline prices.
2,000: SunRail is expected to move as many people as one lane of
Interstate 4 during peak travel times — about 2,000 cars per hour — at a
cost less than building a single lane of I-4 (cost to build 30 miles,
one lane, along I-4 is $2.3 billion vs. 61.5 miles of SunRail at $1.05
billion for right-of-way and construction).
the link below to find out more about SunRail.