The Florida Department of Transportation is currently implementing a solution to Central Florida’s notorious traffic problem. The solution is SunRail, a 61-mile stretch of track that will serve Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando. The commuter rail has some Central Floridians looking forward to skipping out on long hours on the road.
“Well I travel to Daytona a lot for family so, you know, I-4 can get bad sometimes so hopefully the Sunrail will help. I can just take that and cut my drive in half probably.” Says downtown Orlando resident George Kendenberg.
What George and other future riders may not know is that SunRail is expected to provide large economic boosts to all four counties it will be serving. The money is expected to come in once usage of the rail begins, and the money looks to spread around on multiple fronts; Florida Department transportation officials expect commercial and residential areas to hit high numbers.
“When the cities and other jurisdictions step in and start building stuff around these SunRail stations, these Sunrail platforms and
that’s where the private businesses are going to come in. You might even have some residential development and that’s where your economic generation.” Says FDoT spokesman Steve Olson.
Olson says the SunRail is modeled after a similar project used in Utah. There, he says, areas served by the commuter rail experienced significant economic growth, and are continuing to do so.
Expected numbers over the next 30 years vary from county to county, but Central Florida is expected to earn over $981 million in commercial business sales, $295 million in residential earnings and create roughly 11,523 jobs. Out of all the counties served by SunRail, Orange county is expected to benefit the most, with over $200 million in commercial business sales.
Construction on the SunRail will begin later this year and will be worked on periodically through three phases. The final stage is expected to be finished in 2016.