Orlando's SunRail provides comparison for potential Tampa Bay commuter rail
Commuter rail could become a reality in Tampa Bay in the not-so-distant future. Railroad giant CSX told Tampa Bay transit leaders last month that it's interested in selling two lines for passenger rail. And the lines — which span almost 100 miles — already connect three major downtowns and four counties. Check out our full story that ran in Monday's paper on this transit possibility.
But the idea is still in its infancy. The closest comparison Tampa Bay has for converting freight lines to commuter is Orlando's SunRail. Limited information is available for what commuter rail in Tampa Bay would look like, but here are a few SunRail stats to mull over:
• SunRail is 61.5 miles long and includes 17 stops.
• The state and local partners spent $150 million to purchase the tracks.
• FDOT pays for operations and maintenance of the system for the first seven years, but then it will be turned over to the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission, which will assume all costs and responsibilities.
• Various private businesses and corporations have partnered with SunRail. Florida Hospital will pay $3.5 million for its own stop, Walt Disney World Resort will subsidize Commuter Bus Transit Service throughout Central Florida, and Tupperware Brands Corporation will donate more than 10 acres of land to serve as the site for a station.
• SunRail trains run every half-hour during peak hours and every two hours during off-peak times. They do not run at all on weekends.
• Tickets cost as little as $1 and as much as $9.50 depending on how many counties the passenger is traveling through and whether its a one-way or round-trip ticket.
Details for commuter rail in Tampa Bay are still hazy, but where would along the two lines would you like to see stops? Check out the map of the two routes and comment below with what locations you think would be most ideal for stations.