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SunRail gets $93 million to expand into Osceola

Good news for property owners in Kissimmee. With the Sunrail expanding into Osceola County, property values should increase as well.

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Orlando Sentinel Story: Sunrail gets $93 million

SunRail officially has won a $93 million grant from the federal government to expand the commuter train system 17 miles south into Osceola County.

Managers had been confident of getting the money from the Federal Transit Administration because the Osceola leg promises to carry 2,000 riders daily, or about half the number of people who now get on the train each work day.
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“While this news was not unexpected, it is certainly welcome, as it will allow us to expand service schedule and move us toward a regional passenger system for all Central Florida,” U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, said in a press release.

Mica and Democratic Reps. Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson announced the FTA award late Friday, but SunRail officials did not release the amount of money until Monday.

A Mica spokesman said SunRail will receive $40 million from the federal government this year and the remainder next year as it rehabilitates and adds tracks to the corridor formerly owned by the CSX railroad company.

Overall, the expansion will cost more than $186 million, with half coming from the FTA and the remainder from the state, Osceola and Orange counties.

SunRail spokesman Steve Olson said system officials are still seeking $35 million in federal grant money for a 13-mile extension to DeLand in Volusia County. That leg is hampered by low ridership projections of about 220 passengers daily.

Olson said SunRail hopes to hear by the fall if federal funds are available for DeLand.

The Osceola link would hook up with SunRail’s southern terminal at Sand Lake Road and run to Poinciana. Four more stops would be added at: the Meadow Woods community in south Orange, near the Tupperware business campus, downtown Kissimmee and Poinciana, all in Osceola.

If money is found for DeLand, both extensions could be running by mid- to late 2017. The system would nearly double in size to 61 miles and go from 12 stops to 17.

SunRail celebrated its first-year anniversary May 1.

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