Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oct. 20: Get Tri-Rail Funding Resolved First

By Sylvia Gurinsky

It looks like there will be a special session of the Florida Legislature in December to try to resolve the issue of SunRail, the commuter system planned for Central Florida.

Before lawmakers tackle SunRail, they need to resolve the matter of a commuter system that already exists: Tri-Rail.

To recall: Tri-Rail's future is threatened, since its funding issues weren't resolved earlier this year. A big part of the problem is that Tri-Rail's fortunes were tied to SunRail's, and both were tied to the issue of a $2 surcharge on rental cars - a surcharge that ultimately went down to defeat during the regular legislative session.

That surchage may come up again, and so might the opposition. An article by Alex Leary for the St. Petersburg Times (and published in The Miami Herald) goes into a detail that might help the chances of the systems - the federal stimulus package:


Even with that help, politics is politics. And once again, Tri-Rail may be left in peril because of political debates over SunRail.

Every lawmaker needs to note: Tri-Rail exists. Tri-Rail works well in getting South Florida commuters out of their cars and into more environmentally friendly transportation.

Regardless of what happens with SunRail, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Charlie Crist must save Tri-Rail.

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