Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DeLand SunRail looks like it's DOA

Hate to write this, but it looks like DeLand SunRail extension is dead. Or least it’s probably dead for the next 4 to 8 years.

Artist mock-up of  DeLand SunRail
We have strongly advocated for that rail extension to the Volusia County seat as that train service was promised as a key part of the SunRail project. The problem has been getting the money needed for the extension.

The Florida Department of Transportation that runs SunRail hoped to get about half of the $70 million it would cost to extend the train service through Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Competition for those grants is very tough. So far SunRail hasn’t landed the money it needs.

As you can imagine, Volusia County leaders have been very frustrated by the delays. Currently DeBary hosts the only SunRail station in Volusia.

Now comes word through TransitWire that the Trump Administration plans to cut $449 million from the TIGER grant program. Ouch!

Without the money, the DeLand extension is out of gas. That’s a shame because DeLand SunRail not only improves Central Florida’s transportation network but it also expands economic, educational, employment, cultural and recreation opportunities for thousands of people living along the track corridor.

If we can’t extend SunRail to DeLand, you can forget about riding SunRail to Daytona Beach.

Guess we won't be seeing you on The Rail in DeLand.

1 comment:

  1. I guess I shouldn't be shocked or surprised. Orange and Seminole Counties got everything they were promised right from the very start. And although support for Osceola County is strong, their timeline has been pushed back. But Volusia? Unless it involves Daytona Beach, anything else is generally a wash. DeBary happened only to get Volusia County onboard to crank out the $$$, nothing more. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I have SunRail in DeBary. If Volusia County won't do anything for the western side of the county, I really didn't think a regional transit system would take us seriously either. That may sound like sour grapes to some, but unfortunately, that is the harsh reality. As for 4-8 years down the road.... I wouldn't hold my breath on that.