Kissimmee, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a $93.4 million federal grant agreement to extend SunRail commuter rail service 17.2 miles from Southern Orlando to Osceola County. The extension will provide faster and more efficient travel to jobs and cultural and retail destinations in downtown Orlando and throughout Central Florida.
FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan made the announcement during a ceremony to commit the funds with House Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets Chairman John Mica, Representative Alan Grayson, Representative Corrine Brown, Representative Daniel Webster, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), SunRail, and other officials.
“Projects like Central Florida’s SunRail commuter rail system not only create jobs as they are built, but help connect area residents with ladders of opportunity through improved access to work and school,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to support important projects like this that provide 21st century transportation options designed to meet the needs of Central Florida’s growing population.”
The 17.2-mile Phase II South commuter rail line extension will extend service from south of Orlando through Kissimmee to Poinciana in Osceola County. The project will improve transit service to regional employment, entertainment, cultural and retail destinations, including the Orlando Central Business District, and through transit connections to the Orlando International Airport, Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and the Lake Nona mixed-use commercial community.
“We applaud Central Florida’s vision and support for a safe, efficient and connected transportation network that gives more than two million residents a convenient and reliable alternative to traffic congestion on Interstate 4,” said Acting Administrator McMillan.“SunRail will connect residents from Orange and Osceola counties with the jobs and services they need, while removing barriers to success throughout the region.”
Today’s Full Funding Grant Agreement commits $93.4 million in funding from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program. The funding amount represents roughly half of the project’s $186.9 million estimated total cost. The remaining costs are covered by the State of Florida and Orange and Osceola counties in Florida.
SunRail estimates the new extended line will provide approximately 2,000 daily linked trips when the extension opens in 2019. The project will include four new commuter rail stations (Meadow Woods in Orange County; and Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee Amtrak, and Poinciana in Osceola County), the purchase of two locomotives and four passenger cars, and the construction of a vehicle storage and maintenance facility.