Let's keep SunRail on track
by Mike McGraw
from the May/June 2011 issue of Orlando REALTOR® magazine
Something I hear very often when I am discussing SunRail with ORRA members is, "I am not going to use SunRail. Why should I support it?”
No, REALTORS® may not personally use SunRail on a regular basis. Our work schedules are much too unpredictable, although we could use it to get to an event at the Amway Center or to dinner downtown. SunRail is going to benefit those of us who are car-dependent by eliminating the number of vehicles (the equivalent of one lane of traffic from I-4 during peak travel times) on the road and making it easier and faster for us to get around.
SunRail’s benefit to REALTORS ® will come when new residents arrive in Orlando. They will trail employers who decide to move their operations here – a decision that takes into account the transportation options available to employees. It’s those employees who will regularly use SunRail (and, buy houses).
SunRail’s benefit to REALTORS ® will come in the form of increases in property values. Research shows that just as congestion and other transportation difficulties can lead to less investment and a decline in real estate values, properties located within one-half mile of station stops increase in value nearly 900 percent over 20 years.
And SunRail’s benefit to REALTORS ® — and all Central Florida residents — will come in the form of the addition of 245,855 new jobs and the generation of nearly $7.1 billion in economic benefit.
Despite these benefits, SunRail is not a done deal. Gov. Rick Scott has delayed the SunRail project, and he is expected to make a decision in July about its future. Please contact him, and let him know you are in support of SunRail. More talking points and his contact information are available in this issue of Orlando REALTOR®, on page 10. You’ll also find a map of station stops, which have been planned to correspond to major employment centers such as Florida Hospital, downtown, and Orlando Health.
Great American REALTOR® Days
A busload of ORRA members got to work in Tallahassee last month, making sure Florida’s legislators know where REALTORS® stand on real estate issues. More than 50 Orlando REALTORS® made the two-day trip to join a thousand other REALTORS® from across the state for Great American REALTOR® Days. We received briefings on the many real estate issues currently working their way through the Florida Legislature, broke into teams, and then met with:
- Rep. Jason Brodeur;
- Speaker of the House Dean Cannon;
- Rep. Chris Dorworth;
- Rep. Steve Crisafulli;
- Rep. Eric Eisnaugle;
- Rep. Mike Horner;
- Rep. Bryan Nelson;
- Rep. Scott Plakon;
- Rep. Stephen Precourt;
- Rep. Scott Randolf;
- Sen. Gary Siplin;
- Sen. David Simmons; and
- Rep. Geraldine Thompson.
(Are you aware that each of the legislators listed above was elected with the support of the ORRA Board of Directors and the REALTOR® Political Action Committee?)
I am pleased to report that nearly half of the ORRA members who attended Great American REALTOR® Days this year were first timers; turn to the "Closing Out” section of this issue for their thoughts about the event and the process. Next year, I expect to see you on the bus to Tallahassee!
Mike McGraw is ORRA's 2011 chairman of the board and can be reached at email@example.com.