SunRail to Expand into Osceola County with $93M Federal Grant
Cheers and the humming of a train engine echoed from the site of the future Kissimmee Tupperware SunRail station as officials from the Federal Transit Administration signed a $93.4 million grant to help SunRail to expand south.
The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission will add four stops from Kissimmee in southern Orange County to Poinciana in Osceola County.
“This is huge—not only for Osceola County, but for the region as well,” said Osceola County commissioner Vivian Janer at the signing event this morning. “It’s going to complete what SunRail was supposed to be and the ridership numbers are going to increase. With the potential of it going to the airport, it’s just an extra, added bonus.”
Janer expects the expansion to ease travel pains for residents and to boost the economy by $57 million.
But critics say spending a total of $186.9 million on expansion is a waste because ridership has been low since the commuter rail’s inception in May 2014.
Congressman Alan Grayson disagrees, calling the project a long-term investment.
“There are thousands of people who are going to be able to get out of their cars. Stop polluting, stop fighting traffic, stop getting angry behind the wheel and take a simple and brief and joyful ride, and there’ll be an enormous amount of economic development,” he said.
Construction on this second phase of SunRail is expected to start later this year and open in 2017.
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