Last week, I wrote about the I-595 Express Corridor Improvements Project, a highway initative that's creating jobs and improving the way folks in South Florida get from place to place. Further north, in the Orlando area, the Sunshine State is also putting men and women to work solving transportation problems with construction of the SunRail commuter line.
This Central Florida transit line parallels the highly congested I-4 corridor in Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties. When completed, it will extend for 32 miles. Last Friday, our Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff had the chance to view the progress at the construction site of the Florida Hospital station, the first of 12 stations planned for SunRail's initial phase.
Already, SunRail has put about 800 people to work and has spurred a $250 million investment in a 176-acre Health Village at Florida Hospital that will allow thousands of medical researchers, hospital employees, patients and their families to take transit to work or when seeking medical care.
And across the entire rail line, more than two dozen retail, office, government, and residential development projects within a 10-minute walk of new transit stations are planned or under way—representing about $1.6 billion in public and private investments.
The SunRail commuter line makes it clear that investing in transportation projects is a great way to keep our local economies growing.
As Administrator Rogoff said, “The SunRail commuter line will help grow our economy from the middle class outward and reduce our reliance on foreign oil by connecting residents from DeBary to Sand Lake Road with the jobs and services they need, while opening doors to new opportunities across Central Florida.”
At the Florida Hospital station work site, with signs of the Orlando region's expanding biomedical industries all around, it's easy to see the ripple effect that this investment has created: More jobs, better access to vital services like medical care, and critical infrastructure for a growing, thriving industry.
This project is exactly what President Obama is talking about when he calls on us to invest in our nation’s infrastructure—because projects like this strengthen our communities, attract business and provide opportunities for millions of working families.
Over the last four years, DOT has made it easier for hardworking Americans to get where they need to go by investing in more than 350 miles of new rail and bus rapid transit. And we’ve helped to revitalize American manufacturing by investing in over 45,000 buses and over 5,500 rail cars.
We owe it to the next generation to continue to make these critical investments. If you ask a CEO where they’d rather locate and hire, you hear the same thing time and time again. They want modern infrastructure.
As I’ve said before, if you build it, they will come. And in Central Florida, you can see those words in action.