The $1 trillion stopgap federal budget bill includes $16 million for SunRail’s Phase 2 expansion of commuter train service to Poinciana, Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy announced Tuesday.
That 17.2 mile extension from the current southern terminus at Sand Lake Road already is under construction, and will include four new stations, at Meadow Woods, Tupperware, Kissimmee and Poinciana. The federal share pays 50 percent of the cost.
It’s one of the few Central Florida-centric items in the spending bill, which would fund the federal government through the end of September.
“While there are many wins in this bill for central Florida, I am frustrated that we are just now passing an appropriations bill seven months past the deadline. This is no way to govern,” Murphy, of Winter Park, stated in a news release from her office. “Congress should do its job and pass a budget and all appropriations bills on time or they don’t get paid. It’s the only way we’re going to rein in deficit spending and provide stability in our nation’s economy. I will keep working with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure central Florida gets the support we need on key priorities that help us grow and thrive.”
Nonetheless, Murphy’s news release highlighted other items in the bill she said could be helpful to Central Florida.
That includes s $25 million for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a program administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Murphy called the funding a critical first step for a grant being sought by the new BRIDG research center in Osceola County to manufacture microchips, nano-technology and photonics. Murphy, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is working with Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando, whose district includes BRIDG, since this technology has military applications.
In addition, she noted, the University of Central Florida, which is located in Murphy’s district, is a key participant in the BRIDG public-private partnership.