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Scott has already proven that he will say or do anything in person and change face in private, so his response to Brown (who, by the way, is the only one in front of SunRail right now and for that reason she deserves credit) seemed to me a way out of the room.

The difference between high speed rail and SunRail: SunRail is not revolutionary. It is not shrouded in confusion. It's benefits are tried and tested. Orlando isn't the first to setup commuter trains, it wont be the last. Investment in commuter trains has a proven track record.

Ultimately, Scott knows this. So, if after the "review" he was brought up to speed on these facts and he is now betting on the ignorance of Central Floridians to implode the project, he is probably on to something. After all, it was Floridians who voted this crook into office to begin with.

Another big difference between the two projects is that SunRail is viewed as a catalyst for near-term development. Cities and major businesses (chiefly Florida Hospital and ORMC) have considerable development plans for the SunRail stations. These plans are ready to roll, unlike high speed rail. Development in and around those stations was far more abstract.

No matter your view on whether or not SunRail will be a viable form of public transportation, it's going to be hard for critics to argue that there's not money to be found in the development of land around the stations. DeBary isn't exactly the nexus of progressive urban planning, but even that city's leaders are on board - which is quite telling.

Scott might be many things, but he remains very much a political novice. Delaying HSR actually provided supporters more opportunity to make their case. While they lost the battle, I don't believe they necessarily lost the war. The narrative changed from CEO-style governor saving federal money to Tea Party hack costing the state thousands of jobs. Delaying SunRail has allowed local municipalities and businesses to showcase their plans for the route and the many benefits the system will create. The rising cost of gas is also playing a factor in people's perception of the project.

A few months ago, I would have bet SunRail was dead. Now I'm not so sure. Political novice or not, his poll numbers are abysmal and even he has to realize that he must expand beyond his base if he wants to not just win re-election, but be able to have any kind of power in Tally for the next three and half years.

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Hate to say this, but the project isn't going to succeed. Even if it does go through, which I think it will, it will never fully succeed. The problem here is that it does not have backing from even a majority of people. There is not enough support for Sunrail to get adequate funding, to get full scheduling, to get proper transportation connections, and long term support from the local communities it serves. What Brown is hoping is that it turns out to be a "left wing debacle".

The only real hope of keeping the project alive is grassroots actions at making it work - companies that vocally state that Sunrail is a big reason for them remaining in their community, local attempts at making strong transportation connections, and using this as a way to drum up recognizable job growth.

I think there has been grassroots support from the community. I'm sure Scott cares about what the hospitals think. It seems like every other decision by him has been a windfall for healthcare companies, so why should this be any different? As for companies voicing their support, I think hearing that a company like JetBlue decided not to move its headquarters to Orlando partly because of a lack of mass transit (lack of arts and decent schools where the other reasons).

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Hate to say this, but the project isn't going to succeed. Even if it does go through, which I think it will, it will never fully succeed. The problem here is that it does not have backing from even a majority of people. There is not enough support for Sunrail to get adequate funding, to get full scheduling, to get proper transportation connections, and long term support from the local communities it serves. What Brown is hoping is that it turns out to be a "left wing debacle".

The only real hope of keeping the project alive is grassroots actions at making it work - companies that vocally state that Sunrail is a big reason for them remaining in their community, local attempts at making strong transportation connections, and using this as a way to drum up recognizable job growth.

I disagree but I guess the term "fully succeed" is subjective.

I think there's a two-tiered level of usage that we are going to see:

1) Folks driving to a SunRail station in DeLand, Debary, Sanford, Lake Mary, Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee and Poniciana, parking their car at the station and taking the train to downtown Orlando.

Currently, LYNX operates 2 Express Buses, Monday - Friday in the mornings and afternoons. One originates in Orange City and the other in Clermont. Folks drive to a parking lot and get on the bus to save money and enjoy the time doing something other than focusing on the road. This has been popular even before gas has gone up. Higher gas prices will help as well as the publicity that SunRail will be getting (most people don't know about the LYNX express lines).

Also, the I-4 widening projects will make commuting even more of a nightmare than it already is. To the northeast, this will inrease traffic on 417 which will make it harder to endure paying tolls. Other initiatives like increased feeder systems, carsharing in downtown Orlando and the LYMMO expansion will broaden the radius for employers that will be served by transit.

2) The second tier of usage that will happen will be based on the all of the community redevelopment that is slated to happen around several stations. This potentially takes the car-trip out of the equation and would allow some people to live car-free and, more commonly, multi-car households get by on one. Also the demographics of these new communities should be fairly affluent which will help when it comes time to vote on a dedicated source of transit funding. The more people who "knows someone who uses the sevice" the better.

These are my wildly optimistic hopes for SunRail but I think the timing could not be better.

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The problem here is that it does not have backing from even a majority of people.

Maybe so, but once it is up and running a considerable amount of naysayers will change their way of thinking. Some will hop on to "see what the big deal is" and realize that it could add some convenience to their lives.

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Maybe so, but once it is up and running a considerable amount of naysayers will change their way of thinking. Some will hop on to "see what the big deal is" and realize that it could add some convenience to their lives.

Just like high speed rail, other legs of public transportation will need to be up and running quickly thereafter to help SunRail develop into a full success. But, off hand I know of several people who live in Lake Mary and work downtown that would welcome taking a train. I know of several more in Deltona and beyond who would be willing to take a train to a Magic game, or to Winter Park.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm impressed that they even know how to use the Interwebz.

All kidding aside, I would imagine that opponents of SunRail must not be too confident that Gov. Scott will veto the project if they are now having to launch a smear website (at a glance, that's essentially what it is) at this late stage of the game.

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That is without doubt one of the biggest groups of backward-thinking NIMBYs I've seen assembled in one place in ages. I'm not sure I know many outside of a Doug Guetzloe vanity radio show who would give that group much attention (I'm only going by the names in the Sentinel article - surely there's got to be a name of note elsewhere on the website.)

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I guess we can at least be happy it's the worst website ever designed.

If anyone knows how, please create the Facebook group and page "vetosunrail.org" - heck, maybe you can even invite some of the anti-Sunrail folks. Then once it gets big - hit them with some truth ;)

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Central Fla. commuter rail project moves forward

Central Florida's commuter rail project just took another step forward.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday signaled it is ready to enter into a multi-year funding agreement with the state of Florida to build the $1.2 billion project. It would link downtown Orlando with Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties......

http://www.businessw...s/D9N01AH80.htm

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The 2011 Florida Legislative Sesson came to a close with many large bills left unresolved.

The transportation legislative package died because the two sponsors could not agree on the contents. And, unfortunately, the budget does include a $150 million sweep of the transportation trust fund. What does this mean for the future of Sunrail (and LYNX)?

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The first article is shockingly lucid and logical. I like it. I'm happy about the second article, but don't want to get my hopes up just yet. But the general consensus seems to think it's happening, with only a few marginal groups opposing SunRail. Hopefully this will be just the start, with the Orange Blossom Express and some sort of eastward connection following soon.

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  • sunshine changed the title to SunRail

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