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DeLand SunFAIL draws more heat

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The Florida Department of Transportation got blasted for withdrawing a federal grant application to extend SunRail service to DeLand.

The local elected officials on the SunRail Commission of local elected officials directed the fire at FDOT.

Relations between the SunRail Commission and FDOT are normally affable. Things took a turn on Thursday when Volusia County Council Member Pat Patterson expressed frustration that the TIGER grant application was pulled at the last minute. Patterson said he didn’t clearly understand what happened. Neither do we.

Earlier this year FDOT officials spoke glowingly about the TIGER grant application. The feds didn’t approve a grant application last year. This year FDOT officials said chances for approval looked good. At the last minute, FDOT decided not to submit the application.

Many people in Volusia County are understandably upset. No one can say when SunRail service will be extended to DeLand.

Patterson was not alone in his unhappiness. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who chairs the SunRail Commission; Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari and Osceola County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer joined him. They said FDOT should have notified them there was a problem. Then they could have worked together to solve it.

This hot potato landed in the lap of SunRail new CEO Nicola Liquori, which is unfortunate. She wasn’t on the SunRail team when FDOT promised to submit the application. Ms. Liquori has already pledged to find the federal dollars needed for the project.

We’ll see what happens.