Maitland starts process to shut SunRail station down

MAITLAND, Fla. — Faced with a budget crunch, Maitland city leaders have started a process that could lead to the end of the city’s SunRail station, even as negotiations are underway to find a way to keep it open.


Leaders said the station will cost the city $286,000 next year, approximately $4.50 per rider. In terms of ridership, the station has long been the smallest on the line.

FDOT has paid for Sunrail’s operations until now. With the completion of the DeLand station later this year, the agency is preparing to hand over the financial responsibilities of the line and operations to Lynx in a few years.

Maitland’s leaders say the price is just too steep.

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“It’s inequitable for us to be in the position we’re in,” Councilwoman Lindsay Harrison said during last week’s meeting.

Maitland’s Sunrail station has been beset by problems since its beginning. The city’s eagerness to be included led to the station’s location away from the main downtown area to comply with FDOT’s early track spacing requests, making it inconvenient to many would-be riders.

Maitland expected Orange County voters to pass the county’s Transportation Sales Tax in 2022, which would have funded the Sunrail system and several expansions to other areas of the county.

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However, voters shot it down.

The city’s position subsequently worsened because of the state’s Live Local Act, which allowed two large apartment buildings in the city to duck out on some of the taxes they were supposed to pay.

Per the agreement that set up SunRail, Maitland had to give FDOT and Orange County 180 days’ notice before it filed to close its station with the group that oversees the line.

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The votes taken began that clock but also permitted city staff to negotiate with Orange County up until the end of that window.

Both sides said they hoped to find a way to have the much wealthier government shoulder more of the cost or pay for the station outright as it tries again to get its tax passed in 2026.

While waiting for their trains, riders said they relied on Sunrail to get around and hoped they could continue using the service into next year.

“It’s just a way a wonderful way of commuting,” Carolina Pulido said, trying to catch a train on her way to the airport. “We do need the service, so I would appreciate if whoever is taking that decision, you guys really think about it.”

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