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Big-picture thinking is helping DeLand SunRail

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Lots of people are excited the SunRail is in the pipeline to get money to extend service south to Osceola County, but there are serious concerns that federal dollars have not been allocated to extend the train north to DeLand.

However, SunRail bosses are applying for a federal Tiger grant to extend train service to DeLand. Tiger grants were created to connect communities to help improve economic, employment and other opportunities. Those Tiger grants are very competitive, but Deland’s chances have been boosted by Osceola County Commissioner Viviana Janer. Keep in mind, DeLand is in Volusia County, not Osceola County.

There had been plan to seek a Tiger grant for a circulator bus — similar to the LYMMO bus in Orlando — with dedicated lanes and priority traffic signals for the busy tourist corridor on U.S. 192 in Osceola County. However, that ask has been put on the shelf by Janer whose responsibilities include representing Osceola County on the boards of Lynx and SunRail.

In a note to us, Janer wrote: “In the spirit of being good regional partners, I requested it be removed from Lynx agenda earlier (last) week so that SunRail Phase 2 North (to DeLand) would be the only application from our region, it was approved for removal by the (Lynx) board.

“In addition to removing it from the agenda the Lynx board agreed to giving a letter of support for Phase 2 North.”

It’s not as though the bus circulator isn’t needed on US 192 in Osceola, because it is. But Janer also understands what a big difference SunRail can make for the DeLand area.

Imagine if our elected officials in Washington demonstrated that same big-picture thinking to make life better for all of us.