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Confirmation of Winter Park SunRail Realities

May 17, 2010

James Harrison, Director of Growth Management for Orange County, recently offered the points below which confirm my writings on the subject of Dillaha’s continued efforts to obstruct Winter Park’s participation in SunRail.


From: []
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:11 PM

1. Although the City/County Agreement makes Winter Park responsible for the capital costs of constructing the station, those costs will be covered through a Federal grant and little if any cost will accrue to the City (unless the City “opts out” of the station after the money is spent).
2. FDOT is paying for the full cost of right-of-way acquisition for the corridor and so the local governments, including Winter Park, will no longer be responsible for debt service on Fixed-Guideway Bonds. This very substantially reduces the estimated system operating deficit that Winter Park would be responsible for.
3. Orange County will pay for another 30% of the operating deficit associated with the Winter Park stop, and as a result Winter Park’s share is now estimated at approximately $350,000 per year.
4. FDOT will pay 100% of the operating costs for the first 7 years, so no obligation will accrue to the local governments, including Winter Park, until 2020.
5. A number of entities, including Metroplan, LYNX, Orange County and others are evaluating dedicated funding sources for transit. We all fully expect that by 2020 there will dedicated funding for transit.
6. Winter Park has a broad ability to “opt out” of the Agreement if there is not a sufficient dedicated funding source. Winter Park has asked the County for some additional abilities to “opt out” if the funding source is in place initially and then goes away. The County will consider this.
7. The City may determine if the dedicated funding source is sufficient. In other words, if the funding source does not cover 100% of the costs the City may, at its discretion, “opt out” or stay in the Agreement.
8. Winter Park has full authority to make all zoning and land use decisions within the City and has not abdicated any of those rights. There seems to be some concern about this, but the County has no desire to be involved in City land use decisions.
9. Although the total number of trains will be greater, the number of freight trains is expected to be reduced substantially. Since Sunrail trains are much quieter, and much shorter and quicker, the overall noise and impact to the City will be reduced.
10. Current legislation in Tallahassee, which is awaiting Governor Crist’s signature, would provide funding for Winter Park to provide “quiet zones” for all crossings within the City. This is a very significant benefit to the City. It is not directly tied to Sunrail but if signed, will be incorporated into the Sunrail project design.



I urge you to contact our city commission members with this message:

We call for an end to the obstruction and a beginning to the cooperation needed to make our SunRail station a reality, and a social and financial success for Winter Park.

Winter Park Mayor and Commissioners can be reached at:

Mayor Ken Bradley –
Commissioner Carolyn Cooper –
Commissioner Phil Anderson –
Commissioner Tom McMacken –
Commissioner Beth Dillaha –

Pete Weldon
700 Via Lombardy
Winter Park, FL 32789

Posted in Commuter Rail, Policy.

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