It’s official. An unprecedented deal has been struck to bring commuter rail to a second city here in Florida, Orlando. The $500 Million commuter rail will operate much like Tri-rail, using the same Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) vehicles along 61 miles of CSX owned tracks. Trains should be moving from Debary into Orlando by late 2009 and to Osceola by 2013.

I find it shocking that Jeb would endorse such a progressive and innovative plan, especially after convincing voters to repeal the initiative to create a state-wide high-speed train network due to its “excessive” cost. Change of heart or did it take him a few years to finally realize that congestion can only be relieved by seeking alternate modes of transportation? Either way, it’s a win-win situation for Orlando commuters.

“Establishing commuter rail will ease congestion, which will improve the quality of life of people both on and off the road,” Bush said.

Enough Said… Congratulations to the residents who will benefit from the new commuter rail. I hope they look to South Florida to see how to not create a benefitial transportation network. I can see already that they are planning on using a downtown central lynx bus transfer station to create an intermodal center in the urban heart of their city. Good Planning, ours is miles away and most likely to open after theirs… />No word yet on any possible improvements for Tri-Rail out of the deal with CSX, I’ll keep you posted…

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Here is the Tri-rail update I promised you. The only supporting evidence I could find was in the press release issued by Gov. Jeb today…

The CSX/State deal will now enable the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority to control the dispatching of passenger and freight trains along the 81 mile Tri-Rail route. This should result in much smoother Tri-rail operations and will allow dispatchers to give the trains priority along the lines. The new agreement could also open up the CSX lines to further growth in Southern Miami-Dade County. This could prove to be very beneficial to Miami residents, however, part of the CSX lines travel west of the UDB boundary which means that our local politicians may try to open up that land for further sprawl once the trains get rolling…

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