WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., applauded Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement that out of the $1.3 billion that Amtrak will receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $10.5 million will be spent on reconstruction of the Sanford Auto Train terminal.
This funding will be spent immediately, with construction beginning in April and a projected completion date of October 2010.
“We hope to enhance the Auto Train experience by giving Amtrak passengers a decent facility for their arrivals in and departures from Central Florida. The new 600-seat station will make up for the sparse and inadequate reception room that has served as the temporary Sanford Auto Train facility since the original station was nearly destroyed by a hurricane in 2004,” Mica said. “The new station will be easier to access, will be more comfortable, and will allow for faster, more efficient train boarding.”
The Auto Train is one of Amtrak’s best-performing routes, and is in fact the only long-distance route that makes money instead of requiring a subsidy. The innovative service transports passengers together with their automobiles non-stop from Lorton, Va., to Central Florida.
The Auto Train carries 300 vehicles in auto carrier cars and 500 passengers on its coach and sleeper cars. The ride from Lorton to Sanford takes 17 hours, traveling overnight.
Additionally, Mica said he is working with Seminole County and Sanford officials to improve the highway access to Sanford Auto Train station, which is currently on surface streets and experiences frequent congestion and back-ups because of the auto unloading process.