Congressman Mica pushes to add commuter service on Orlando rail line

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

In the more than 90-degree heat Friday, WFTV spotted people waiting for the next bus at a Lynx station in Apopka.

"I ride two buses, maybe an hour, hour and a quarter.  Of course, if I have to go into the city it's a whole lot longer," said rider Dwight Russell.

But right next to the bus stop is a rail line that runs directly to downtown Orlando.

Friday, U.S. Rep. John Mica announced his push to add commuter service on that line for the first time in decades by extending SunRail to the east and west.

The proposal comes as six smaller diesel cabs are about to become available to central Florida when a contract in south Florida expires in December.

"We can take those six vehicles and extend to communities who want service that don't have service, like Apopka, Eustis and Tavares," said Mica.

Even though the lines are already in place, there's still some infrastructure that would be needed.

For example, in Apopka they'd need a platform and train station because the old buildings just won't cut it.

Also, even though the new cabs are paid for, the cost to operate them will be about $9 million per year.     

Mica said funding would have to be a federal, state and local partnership, just like SunRail.

"We'll have to look at the cost and see if the community wants to provide the extra service," said Mica.