SunRail, Central Florida's first passenger rail system, is a 61.5 mile commuter rail line connecting four counties and the City of Orlando. It is considered the first piece of a larger passenger rail network planned for the region.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will manage the project during planning, design, construction and the initial seven years of operation, with the benefit of local input. The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission governing board, comprised of local elected officials, was established in 2007 to assist FDOT with policy direction.
Commuter rail transit uses steel-wheeled technology similar to a traditional train and is generally powered by a diesel locomotive. SunRail will run on existing freight railroad tracks running parallel to Interstate 4. Trains will consist of one to three cars, along with a locomotive, with the capacity to carry more than 150 passengers in each car. Amenities include: rest room facilities on all trains, power outlets at all seats, luggage and bicycle racks, and wireless Internet connectivity.
The system includes 17 stations.
Construction will be completed in two phases:
- DeBary/Fort Florida Road in Volusia County to Sand Lake Road in Orange County
- 31 miles; 12 stations
- Anticipated opening: late 2013
- Extends the system south from Sand Lake Road in Orange County to Poinciana in Osceola County and north to DeLand Amtrak station in Volusia County
- 30 miles; 5 stations
- Anticipated opening: 2015
- Scheduled service every 30 minutes during peak commute times, including 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; off-peak service every two hours
- As passenger demand grows, system designed to increase service levels to every 15 minutes during peak periods and every hour during off-peak periods
- Freight traffic on the commuter rail line will be restricted during peak travel times, allowing passenger rail trains to run uninterrupted
SunRail funding is divided into two categories: capital and operations/maintenance.
- Anticipated capital costs approximately $615 million (Approximately $10 million per mile, making SunRail one of least expensive new starts projects in the country on a per mile basis.)
- Breakdown of capital costs:
- Split 50% federal; 25% state; 25% local
- State money is in place for the project
- Five local funding partners (Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties, and city of Orlando) unanimously approved funding commitments in Summer of 2007
- The Full Funding Grant Agreement guaranteeing federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration for phase one of SunRail was signed in July 2011. FDOT is currently taking SunRail phase two through all the studies and steps necessary to secure a Full Funding Grant Agreement in the near future.
Operations and Maintenance
- FDOT will cover the operations and maintenance deficit for first seven years of operation
- Local funding partners will assume the this cost beginning year eight (and beyond)
- An independent financial impact study found SunRail has the potential to create nearly 260,000 jobs, with an estimated $8.8 billion in economic impact
- SunRail can carry as many passengers as one-lane of I-4 during peak travel times
- Significant travel time savings are expected during peak periods, including a travel time from Lake Mary to downtown Orlando is less than 30 minutes
- The system uses existing infrastructure and requires limited right-of-way acquisition
- Passenger rail encourages transit-oriented development, reducing urban sprawl and protecting environment, elements that are an integral part of the MetroPlan Orlando 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan
- SunRail establishes spine of a regional rail network that can be expanded statewide
- Development of the system returns 20 cents of every dollar motorists now pay in federal gas taxes for transit projects to Florida
- SunRail allows businesses, research and education centers to tap into geographically broader talent pool
For more information about SunRail, please visit the official project website or contact Marianne Gurnee, public liaison, at (407) 492-0836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.