As officials struggle to obtain funding to bring SunRail farther into Volusia County, another train might be poised to rumble into the area, a congressman said.
U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, said that a planned rail service, All Aboard Florida, could soon look to expand into Daytona Beach using the Florida East Coast Railway that runs through Volusia and Flagler counties.
It’s just a matter of time before they build it, Mica said.
“This is going to happen, and it could happen very quickly,” he said.
Mica’s overture seems to indicate a willingness by officials at All Aboard Florida to take another look at Volusia County as a possible landing spot after deciding years ago to take an alternate route to Orlando. A spokeswoman at the private company wrote in an emailed statement that “All Aboard Florida does not have plans to expand at this time.” Local leaders who previously worked to lure the service here said they have not heard of any new developments on the project.
Volusia County Councilman Josh Wagner, who has advocated to build an inter-modal center at Daytona Beach International Airport to be used by SunRail and All Aboard Florida, said the area needs to be ready for when the rail industry looks to service the region.
“You have to have enough people to show them the stop makes sense for them,” he said.
All Aboard is now focused on building four stations for the planned project to connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport. The service is expected to begin in 2017, according to the company.
Though he offered few details, Mica said he would work to bring the rail service here in five years. He pointed out that people could use the rail to connect to Daytona Beach International Airport, spend a day at Daytona International Speedway or visit the beach.
By Chris Graham & Eileen Zaffiro-Kean