Friday, September 9, 2016

SunRail screwed Volusia out of DeLand train station

SunRail is running off the tracks.

Volusia County Council (county commission) members are ready to pull the plug on SunRail unless the promised DeLand SunRail train station gets built.

Who can blame them?

Mythical DeLand SunRail station
Nine years ago Volusia signed on to SunRail because they were promised a train station in DeLand – Volusia’s county seat.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) currently operates SunRail. Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Osceola counties and the city of Orlando are supposed to take over the financial responsibility and operations of SunRail in 5 years when FDOT leaves the project.

Three new stations are currently being built in Osceola County – with the help of a special federal grant. A new spur is being planned to connect SunRail tracks to Orlando International Airport. But nothing is going on with the DeLand station.

Last year SunRail’s FDOT masters applied for a special federal grant to extend the SunRail tracks to DeLand. The grant was denied. This spring FDOT was preparing another application for the federal grant. In a surprise move, at the last moment, FDOT chose not submit the grant application to extend tracks to DeLand.

Volusia County deserves more than sweet words from FDOT. The county was promised a SunRail DeLand station. FDOT needs to deliver.

Currently SunRail tracks only go as far as the Volusia County city of DeBary – one of the busiest stations in SunRail.

We’re passionate supporters of SunRail. We’re also deeply disappointed in the defective SunRail product FDOT delivered. The train service is limited to weekdays. There are service gaps of up to 2 ½ hours. No late-night service. There’s no trains to DeLand, even though that service was promised.

No surprise SunRail is used by fewer than 2,000 daily because its schedule is so inconvenient. SunRail’s potential is tremendous. There are at least 10,000 people on the SunRail track corridor who could be use the train daily.

SunRail was pitched as a vital element in the I-4 transportation network. Unless our leaders wake up, SunRail will run off the tracks in 2021 when FDOT departs. We’re furious because FDOT’s poor leadership, poor planning, poor attitude and indifference to customer satisfaction are responsible for SunRail’s failures.

Please get this railroad back on the tracks.

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