A federal check of more than $87 million was delivered to the state this week for the continued construction of the SunRail commuter train in Metro Orlando.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff made the official announcement Friday during a news conference a few yards north of the planned SunRail depot at Florida Hospital's campus near College Park, just north of downtown Orlando.
The money, Rogoff said, "creates construction jobs now when we need them … and creates sustainable jobs that we need in the future."
Rogoff was standing in for federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who canceled his appearance because he was needed in Washington, D.C., for a White House briefing to discuss potential effects of the sequester budget deal.
SunRail, which will cost $1.2 billion, is set to open in May 2014. The first 31-mile phase will link DeBary in Volusia County with downtown Orlando and south Orange County. The second phase is supposed to open in 2016 and add DeLand to the north and Poinciana in Osceola County to the south.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the train has prompted the announcement of 26 developments near the 17 stops of the route.
Those projects will create 6,700 construction jobs and 8,400 permanent jobs, the mayor said.
The work includes a new headquarters building for the Florida Hospital campus, plus an apartment house. Both are close to the hospital's depot.
"Right now we are building the dream," said Noranne Downs, who runs the Central Florida office of the state Department of Transportation. "We are working on the railroad."
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