Florida Governor Rick Scott made it clear to FOX 35 during a station visit that he wants Central Florida to understand that the state commitment to pay for the operation and maintenance of SunRail ends 7 years after the trains start running, and locals will have to pay after that.
We went to find out what financing is in place once the 7 years are up and learned that there is no specific plan in Orange County or the City of Orlando. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer did tell us that 75 percent of the cost will be covered off the top.
"Fare box -- people actually paying to ride the train, there's some federal funding that goes to passenger rail that's formula-driven, and then there's actually going to be use of land related to some of the stations."
SunRail stations should generate some tax revenue. That leaves 25 percent which is nearly $2 million a year for Orlando. Mayor Dyer said not to worry, even though the city faced a $40 million budget hole this year.
"It would either be general revenue or all of our stops are in the Downtown CRA, so it would be appropriate to fund any operations and maintenance out of the CRA, but its an extremely, nominal expense for all 5 of the governments."
The CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) is a special downtown taxing district that already has to pay for the new arts center, Citrus Bowl renovations, and the incentives given out to downtown developers. Orange County's share will be somewhere around a million dollars, and they also feel comfortable they can find enough in general tax revenue to cover operations. Seminole County is the only one with a plan in place to pay its share. They've been putting money aside from the County's 7th cent of sales tax.
The planned commuter train SunRail is supposed to bring 5,000 construction jobs to Central Florida, and the Department of Transportation believes it could create as many as 260,000 jobs once all stations and the developments around them are complete. The train would ultimately run from DeLand in Volusia County to Poinciana in Osceola County, with stops in Seminole and Orange counties.