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Florida's SunRail gets green light

Sixty-one miles of new train track in Central Florida are a go.

Follow-up friday icon The Congressman's pet project transportation boondoggle SunRail commuter line got the OK from Florida officials.

If all goes according to plan, the $1.28 billion project will link Volusia County with downtown Orlando in 2014.

Republican Rep. John Mica, who has been fighting for years to get the project funded, was elated with this Follow-up Friday news. "This is as significant for the state as when Henry Flagler brought the railroad to Florida and when President Eisenhower initiated the interstate (system)," he said.

But there's already concern that the new train line could be derailed.

Federal funding for SunRail may already be in jeopardy, according to The Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog. The House has suggested eliminating the New Starts program, the transit initiative providing SunRail funding.

And even if the funding mechanism survives the federal budget knife, Florida has to meet an operational deadline. If SunRail isn't running by May 1, 2014, the project will be considered in breach of the contract that supplied the money.

Looks like Mr. Mica still needs to do some arm twisting convincing on Capitol Hill.

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