By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Central Florida is scheduled to roll out a commuter rail system on May 1 along a major interstate corridor that runs through downtown Orlando, becoming the first new system to open in the United States in three years. SunRail will extend a total of 61 miles at a cost of $1 billion by the time a second phase is completed in 2016. The new commuter rail system opens during a time of rising public transit ridership. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in March reported a record 10.7 billion trips taken nationally in 2013, fed in part by investments in transit by states and cities to attract new businesses and workers. SunRail will run in a generally north-south direction through the eastern side of central Florida with downtown Orlando near the midpoint. The train bypasses the city's major theme parks. Stops include several suburbs, two large Orlando hospitals and medical complexes and the Amway Arena, the stadium of the NBA's Orlando Magic. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said one goal for SunRail was to change future growth patterns in central Florida away from suburban sprawl toward more walkable urban environments increasingly popular today. Since SunRail was funded, nearly $1.7 billion in new development, including 4,500 residential units, has been completed or is under construction within a 10-minute walk of a commuter station, according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). "We're competing for the bright, talented, young people and entrepreneurs with places like Austin and San Francisco to bring that talent to Orlando," Dyer said. "They expect public transit." The wider vision is for SunRail to tie into an extensive public transit network linking Orlando and Miami by an inter-city higher-speed rail. Florida East Coast Industries (FECI), which owns a prime century-old rail line along Florida's east coast, announced plans in 2012 for All Aboard Florida, a three-hour passenger train service between Orlando and Miami, now projected by the company to launch in 2015. All Aboard Florida says 50 million people a year travel between Orlando, the most visited U.S. city, and Miami, Florida's largest urban area, creating a feasible market for what would be the first privately funded, owned and operated inter-city passenger rail service in the country in a half a century. If the project succeeds, "then you've expanded the effective commuter shed that someone could live in Miami and work in Orlando or vice versa," said David Levinson, urban systems researcher and civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "It happens in Europe all the time and it happens in the Northeast Corridor all the time." SunRail is the tenth new commuter rail system completed in the United States since 2000, and follows the 2011 opening of the 21-mile "A Train" in Denton, Texas, according to the APTA. Other new systems since the turn of the century were built in Austin, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Albuquerque, Seattle, Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon. Despite President Barack Obama's attempt to jump-start high-speed rail construction across the country with $8 billion in his 2009 economic stimulus package, no European or Japanese-style train has been constructed, Levinson said. Projects in Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio were cancelled by Republican governors who criticized the federal government for wasteful spending. Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott also cited the risk of cost overruns being absorbed by the state. California, the beneficiary of federal money diverted from those states, is facing legal and funding hurdles for a proposed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. In Texas, mayors in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth recently endorsed a plan by a private company, Texas Central Railway, to create a high-speed line between the two metropolitan areas. (Editing by Kevin Gray and Andrew Hay)
- Business Insider
Ex-official who investigated Hillary Clinton's emails said the documents recovered by the FBI at Trump's Mar-a-Lago were particularly 'stunning' and 'egregious'
"Whether this investigation transforms into an outright criminal prosecution remains to be seen," David Laufman said on CNN.
Trump sent cryptic message to Merrick Garland before warrant was unsealed: 'The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?'
Donald Trump reached out to Attorney General Merrick Garland before the warrant to search Mar-a-Lago was unsealed, The New York Times reported.
Trump lawyer says she's told him all litigation involving the former president 'will stop' if he announces he's not running for office in 2024
"I told him this is going to actually increase your support in your base," Alina Habb said about the FBI raid, noting Trump was "honestly not surprised" by it.
Ex-Clinton aide implies 'President of France' file found at Trump's home during Mar-a-Lago raid could be valuable to Putin as 'kompromat'
The FBI found "info re: President of France" during the Mar-a-Lago raid. In a tweet, Jennifer Palmieri implied it could be used as "kompromat."
Mary Trump speculates that Jared Kushner could be the 'Mar-a-Lago mole' after reports say an informant close to Trump guided FBI agents to the documents
Sources told The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek that someone told the FBI about the documents at Mar-a-Lago and where they were stored.
- The Hollywood Reporter
Robyn Griggs, known for her roles on soap operas Another World and One Life to Live, has died. She was 49. The actress’ passing was announced on her Facebook page Saturday. She had been battling cervical cancer and was open about her health struggles on social media, with Griggs posting last month that she had been diagnosed […]
Ex-White House chief of staff said Trump stashed records at Mar-a-Lago because 'he didn't believe in the classification system'
Trump has denied any wrongdoing by keeping White House records at his Mar-a-Lago resort, saying, "Everyone ends up having to bring home their work."
Trump's lawyer signed a statement months ago saying all classified documents had been turned over, report says. The FBI found more during its raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The FBI recovered 11 boxes of classified materials from Mar-a-Lago, but the NYT reported Trump's lawyer said in June all of them had been returned.
Rand Paul calls for repeal of Espionage Act amid DOJ investigation into Trump taking classified documents to Mar-a-Lago
The DOJ is investigating if Donald Trump broke the Espionage Act. But Rand Paul, a GOP senator, wants it repealed, he said Saturday.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is trying to impeach Merrick Garland, saying the Trump Mar-a-Lago raid was a 'a blatant attempt to persecute a political opponent'
The FBI during its search recovered 11 boxes containing classified records that Trump took with him from the White House once he left office.
- The Root
After a midsummer meeting in June 2021, newly hired police chief RaShall Brackney felt the need to double down on her personal safety, unholstering her gun as she left headquarters. Brackney’s fear however was not prompted by the activity on the streets, or even the ongoing public threats made against the police department over the years. Instead, she found herself afraid of her own subordinates, cops who wanted her gone after making some controversial, yet necessary shake ups throughout the for
Some Republicans express concern about Trump reportedly taking documents about nuclear weapons to Mar-a-Lago, even as they bash the FBI
One House GOP lawmaker said the severity of what Trump may have done could depend as not all nuclear information is "highly, highly" classified.
"Alarm has grown when you talk to advisers of the former president," Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey tells MSNBC.
- AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
Federal sources tell Newsweek what happened at Mar-a-Lago: The FBI truly thought this wasn't going to be a big deal. Whoops.
The far right is calling for civil war after the FBI raid on Trump's home. Experts say that fight wouldn't look like the last one.
"People's sense of the civil and civic ways of resolving disputes" is "out the window," Fiona Hill told Insider, warning of the potential for "civil conflict."
Trump's latest defense for Mar-a-Lago documents is everyone 'brings home their work from time to time' and the files were automatically declassified
Trump's statement on the Mar-a-Lago documents was featured on Fox News. He claimed a "standing order" declassified files "the moment" they left the Oval Office.
GOP lawmaker says he was notified by FBI that his 'life was in danger' by 'some of these same people' threatening law enforcement in wake of Mar-a-Lago raid
"I myself have been notified by the Bureau that my life was put in danger recently by some of the same people," Fitzpatrick said Sunday.
- Country Living
Molly Ephraim starred as the original Mandy on the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing. The actress currently appears in A League of Their Own.
- The Hill
Republicans, including Greene, have repeatedly accused the Justice Department of going after Trump for political reasons.
"My students aren’t the snowflakes Gov. DeSantis assumes they are... and neither am I."