We learned a lot about planned transit improvements from Orange County’s proposed transportation penny sales tax that we want to share with you.
Orange’s Reimagined Transit System
The Orange County Transit Plan completely transforms our inadequate system with three main policy proposals:
- Frequent bus service on major corridors
- Direct express buses
- SunRail expansion and upgrades to operate as the spine of the system
Major upgrades in frequency with 94% of routes operating at least every 30 minutes, and almost half of all routes coming every 15 minutes or less.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on major corridors:
- State Road 436
- State Road 50
- Kirkman Road
- Oak Ridge Road
- U.S. 441 South
- International Drive
Regional Express Buses: Direct connections over highways between major activity centers, listed below, to get workers where they need to go fast.
- Disney World
- Downtown Orlando
- Orlando International Airport
Orange County wants to add new SunRail service to the Airport, build an entire new commuter rail line to Apopka, and ultimately work together with Brightline to build an East-West SunRail line.
Maitland to MCO SunRail interlined with current service would provide 15-minute peak service and 30-minute service all day within Orange County.
- Amelia Street
- Princeton Street (Packing District)
- State Road 429
SunRail and Brightline: Read details about the recently revealed plan for the Sunshine Corridor — the potential collaboration between Brightline and SunRail to share track to reach the Convention Center and Disney.
While this project is still in preliminary planning, it is an example of a badly needed and transformative transit project that a dedicated funding source could support. Federal grants can fund up to 80% of a project, but still requires at least 20% local matching funds.
These improvements would be life changing for current transit riders in Orange County, which is why we urge Commissioners to put the penny tax on the ballot and prioritize transit in transportation funding. The small increase in expenses would be quickly recovered in time saved by current LYNX riders, who often put up with 3 hour one way commutes because of our slow and unreliable bus system.
However, we think the County must go above and beyond to provide a truly world class transit system. Some suggestions include investing in light rail, rolling out immediate frequency improvements, and more service for booming suburbs like Horizon West and Avalon Park to counteract the negative effects of suburban sprawl.
This transit plan could be the start of a mobility revolution in Greater Orlando, but first we need to fund it.
April Actions and Events
April 26: Orange County Commissioners will vote whether to put the transportation funding initiative on the November ballot.
RSVP on Facebook and learn how to speak at the County Commission in support of sustainable transportation, safe streets, and affordable transit orientated housing with our coalition members.
If you are unable to provide a public comment —please send a letter to Orange County Commission members, advocating for smarter and more sustainable transportation options.
April 28: Join us for an networking event hosted by Sustainable Sisters of Orange County. Several organizations will be crossing audiences with the hope of bringing like-minded people together while sharing their missions! Learn more and RSVP on Facebook.
What We’re Reading
Invest in Mass Transit to fight high gas prices
The best policy response for members of our community struggling with high gas prices is to provide long term solutions by investing in a modern transportation system – one that does not force people to rely on cars just to survive.
Orlando Sentinel nonsubscribers can also access the editorial here.
A Green New Deal for Transportation
The transportation sector currently emits more carbon pollution than any other sector in the US economy. Life in the United States is organized around personal automobiles powered by petroleum. For a Green New Deal in transportation to be possible, that has to change. A climate-safe future requires a swift and just decarbonization of the transportation sector, a major expansion of public and active transportation, and the parallel decarbonization of the electricity sector.