A day after signing off on federal funds for Central Florida’s planned commuter rail project, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is singing the project’s praises on his personal blog.
SunRail, he wrote this afternoon, will help achieve some of the Obama administration’s aims for infrastructure investments, creating badly needed construction jobs in the short term and increasing transportation options over the long run:
The first 32-mile segment of the 61-mile system is scheduled for completion in 2014, and when SunRail opens for business, area residents will be able to skip daily traffic snarls, spend less of their hard-earned income on gas, reduce the region’s tailpipe emissions, and help cut America’s dependence on expensive foreign oil.
In addition to providing easy access to Orlando central business district’s 730,000 jobs, there are approximately 79,000 more jobs within walking distance of the line’s 12 stations. Economic opportunities will also spring up around SunRail stations as new businesses open to serve commuters’ needs and other businesses relocate to be near transit access. The Florida Department of Transportation estimates another 150,000 jobs will be created as a result of business and economic development around the line.
LaHood recently used his blog to tout the virtues of another project — a revamping of the infrastructure around the Port of Miami — that has been the subject of more public enthusiasm from Gov. Rick Scott than SunRail ever was.
(Hat tip: The Hill.)