THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Central Florida rail commission calls on Atwater to support SunRail

Mar 31, 2009

Supporting a proposed commuter rail project in the Orlando area would fulfill Sen. Jeff Atwater’s pledge to his constituents to focus on issues that reduce unemployment, backers wrote the Senate president in a letter Monday.

The Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission said that project (SB 1212), which had been moving in the Senate before stalling a bit at the Senate Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee, would bring infrastructure development and job growth to the state, which Atwater promised to do.

The appropriations committee is the next panel that would have to approve the measure, which has already cleared two committees, though the money for the project isn’t part of the bill because the project is already included in the Department of Transportation’s work plan.

With a big test in front of it, backers sought Monday to get Atwater to join Gov. Charlie Crist in supporting the train.

“We the undersigned, on behalf of the people we have been elected to serve, are in total agreement with you in that the key to improving Florida’s economic integrity lies in these infrastructure projects and the creation of jobs for Floridians who desperately need work,” the commission members wrote. “As you are no doubt aware, SunRail is the best example of this type of project and is completely in-line with these priorities.”

The letter was signed by commission chairman and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, as well as Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, Seminole County Commissioner Carlton Henley, Volusia County Council Chairman Frank Bruno and Osceola County Commissioner Brandon Arrington.