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Issues and Voices that Matter October 5, 2011

SunRail and You

SunRail & You_titleHear remarks from speakers involved in launching the Seminole County portion of SunRail, a 61 mile commuter railroad spine connecting 4 central Florida counties – Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola, and a myriad of cities and communities in between. you’ll hear comments from Marianne Gurnee of the Florida department of transportation; David Mealor, mayor of the City of Lake Mary; Joe Durso, mayor of the city of Longwood; Patricia Bates, mayor of the city of Altamonte Springs; and John Horan, a Seminole County commissioner. The event is hosted by the Seminole County League of Women Voters.

Length 01:02:13


Photos – Charles E. Miller.

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This 51-minute event, hosted by the Seminole County League of Women Voters and facilitated by league member, Zelda Ladan, presents 4 elected officials — representing the station stops of SunRail in the County – and a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation – FDOT. They will build and operate the $1.2 billion dollar project. Each speaker reviews the status, impact, economic development opportunities and timetable for the rail stops in their area. This portion lasts 30-minutes.

In the remaining 21-minutes, luncheon guests followup with a range of questions addressing specific aspects of SunRail on local workforce employment, business development opportunities, feeder transportation systems, elderly and handicapped rider accommodations, ticket affordability, student transportation, and the future prospects of adding more rail stops within Seminole County.

The program concludes with 2- minutes for announcements from league members about upcoming league projects and programs. This event was recorded at the Patio Grill Restaurant & Lounge in Sanford, Florida, on Thursday, September 22, 2011.

Principal Speakers

Panel member Marianne Gurnee, public liaison, Florida department of transportation (photo - Charles E. Miller)
Marianne Gurnee
Public liaison, Florida department of transportation

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David Mealor, mayor of the City of Lake Mary, Fl. (photo - Charles E. Miller)
David Mealor
Mayor of the City of Lake Mary, Fl.

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Joe Durso, mayor of the city of Longwood, Fl. (photo - Charles E. Miller)
Joe Durso
Mayor of the city of Longwood, Fl.

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Panel member Patricia Bates, mayor of the city of Altamonte Springs, Fl. (photo - Charles E. Miller)
Patricia Bates
Mayor of the city of Altamonte Springs, Fl.

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Panel member John Horan, commissioner, Seminole county government (photo - Charles E. Miller)
John Horan
Commissioner, Seminole county government

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League of Women Voters of Seminole County host and facilitator:

League of Women Voters of Seminole County host and facilitator: Zelda Ladan (photo - Charles E. Miller)
Zelda Ladan

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Links to additional information related to SunRail:

Links to podcasts produced by CMF Public Media featuring issues related to transportation:

Pictures

At left, former league president, Deanna Schott with league member  Susan Squires (photo - Charles E. Miller)

Event Summary – written by league member Susan Squires:

League member Susan Squires (photo - Charles E. Miller)

Most of the $1.2 billion for SunRail will come from the federal and state governments, but local elected officials say it’s largely up to them to make it succeed in Seminole County.

“We have lots of very hard work to do,” Seminole County Commissioner John Horan told a crowd of about 40 at the League of Women Voters Seminole County’s September Hot Topics luncheon “SunRail and You.”

The commuter rail’s first 31-mile phase, which will connect DeBary to downtown Orlando and include stops in Sanford, Lake Mary, Longwood and Altamonte Springs, is expected to go online in 2014. Eventually, SunRail will run from DeBary south to Poinciana in Osceola County.

During peak travel periods, SunRail hopes to transport as many passengers as a lane of I-4. The average fare, according to SunRail public liaison Marianne Gurnee, will be $2.50 one way, with an additional $1 surcharge for traveling between counties.

Among the challenges for local officials is attracting the kind of development around stations that will encourage ridership.

Lake Mary envisions a station with shops, restaurants and other amenities in “a facility that will rival anything in Europe in terms of convenience,” Mayor David Mealor said.

But the areas around all of the stations except the proposed Sanford site are already developed.

“One of the things we have to focus on is incentives for redevelopment,” Longwood Mayor Joe Durso said.

For example, Longwood has established a program for rehabilitating brownfields and streamlined its permitting process. The payoff, the city hopes, is $630 million in property value in the area surrounding the station.

“It is not just about a train station,” Durso said. “It has to be a comprehensive approach.”

There is also the problem of moving people from the stations to other destinations.
Altamonte Springs, along with Casselberry, Maitland and Longwood, are developing a system called FlexBus to transport riders on-demand from SunRail stations to other areas in each city.

“SunRail is only going to work if we have a way to get to and from the stations,” Altamonte Springs Mayor Pat Bates said.

2 Responses to “SunRail and You”

  1. PAUL LILLING says:

    When our nation’s manufacturing sector requires extensive rehabilitation to restore sorely needed jobs —what was the incentive to contract the manufacture of the SunRail passenger cars in Canada? The U.S. must be in such bad shape when we can’t build a passenger rail car? Anytone brave enough to provide an answer and not an excuse?

  2. JULIE says:

    WHEN WILL SUNRAIL COME TO LAKE COUNTY FLORIDA

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