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What’s with the new SunRail executive director?

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How come SunRail just named its first executive director?

That’s one of several questions that we recently presented to Florida Department of Transportation officials. Please see the responses provided by an FDOT spokeswoman.

QUESTION: Help me understand the difference between what Tawny has been doing and what this new executive director will do?

ANSWER: The Executive Director is an FDOT employee with overall responsibility for SunRail, ensuring that the mission of the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission and SunRail is accomplished consistent with Department goals and objectives. This includes oversight of daily operations, expansion of the system through Phases II and III, increasing ridership while managing costs, maintaining performance benchmarks, as well as administrative, financial and organizational management activities.  Tawny Olore is a consultant who provides guidance and support to the SunRail team. Like all SunRail employees and consultants, Ms. Olore will report to the Executive Director. 

QUESTION: Does SunRail’s new executive director have passenger rail experience?  

ANSWER: SunRail’s executive director has 14 years of experience in user-financed transportation with FDOT at Florida’s Turnpike. This experience includes managing the financial aspects of a program with a $5 billion – 5-year capital plan, but also the daily operations of a 483-mile toll system with over 2.5 million transactions per day, management of eight service plazas along the Turnpike mainline and management of business development programs.

 

The SunRail team collectively has many years of passenger rail experience – the Executive Director brings the management experience of a complex transportation program. This experience will be key now that SunRail is operating a major commuter line (phase I), undertaking a major construction project (phase II) and beginning the development process for a new project (phase III).

 

QUESTION: Will SunRail’s new executive director be focused on helping SunRail reach 7-day and late night service?

 

ANSWER: Yes, SunRail is at a critical time as the department begins Phase 2 South construction and planning for future expansions like to the Orlando International Airport and extensions of service such as possible nights and weekend service.

 

QUESTION: What happens to this executive director if the SunRail Commission (elected officials) decide to take over local management of the train system before 2021?

ANSWER: This is an item for future discussion.