Soto champions SunRail expansion into Polk
On Aug. 5, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto (D-Winter Haven) met with a group of east Polk County mayors and commissioners to request local resolutions in support of his federal efforts to extend the SunRail commuter train line from Poinciana, where it currently ends, into Haines City, Lake Alfred, Auburndale and Lakeland in the coming years.
“If we do nothing, east Polk County will be left behind,” Soto said. “All of these classic downtowns will be left out of this connectivity. It’s a big concern of mine to make sure our communities there are getting the benefits of these projects moving forward.”
Making something such as this happen will still require a lot of work at the local, state and federal levels, Soto explained.
SunRail service currently ends at a stop in Poinciana, in northeast Osceola County.
He said that his staff is in preliminary discussion with Florida Department of Transportation staff to use existing FDOT funding to pay for a ridership study — a study that would estimate how many people may use commuter rail in Polk County.
A ridership study would be one of the requirements to try and get federal funding for such a project in the coming years.
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