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County Preparing To Spend $3.6B On Rapid Transit

Miami-Dade officials have decided on the mode of transit for each of six corridors planed under the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan, according to Miami Today.

In total, there will be 82 miles of new rail. The 9-mile Miami to Miami Beach is planned as an elevated metromover route with a cost of $1.2b. All other routes will be at-grade, which will save money but increase gridlock.

Construction of all six routes is estimated by the county at $3.6 billion (an independent consultant disputes the price and estimates it at $6 billion) . Officials have not decided on whether to apply for federal funding, which will delay the process. Funding locally will mean construction starts on all six corridors in two to six years.

Source of funds that are being looked at include increasing sales tax, using MDX tolls, auto tag renewal fees, increasing parking violations, gas taxes, TIF financing, and Transit Oriented Development opportunities, among others. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and another county commissioner recently appointed themselves to the MDX board with the intention of taking MDX funds for rail.

 

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118 Comments on "County Preparing To Spend $3.6B On Rapid Transit"

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Anonymous
Anonymous

I agree full and wholeheartedly that additional gas tax, MDX tolls, increased parking violations, tag fees, etc. should be used to create a Mass Transit option. Most big cities in the world with functional mass transit systems do this and more and it helps to alleviate traffic, carbon footprint, and improve quality of life.

suomynona
suomynona
I don’t like this plan at all. The only line I can say I actually like is the FIU line. 1. The Miami Beach line doesn’t even “loop” around Miami Beach. It barely reaches the beach at all, according to the Miami Today article. It stops at 5th and Alton. That’s somewhat useless. 2. Going to Homestead is stupid. People in Homestead and Florida City should either drive and do park and ride from around the Southland area, or use the current bus to the Southland area and hop on the metrorail there. Sure, in 20 years metrorail might be necessary in Homestead, but as of right now, that area of the county is the least population dense. They don’t have enough money to pay for these lines as is, even with federal, state and local monies. So why waste waste money going to Homestead when lines to Kendall, FIU and Miami Beach are significantly more important? Build to Homestead after you’ve gone everywhere else. 3. At grade just sounds like a nightmare (save for the FIU line which is helped out by MIA, 836 and the Turnpike Extension already limiting cross-streets in that section of town). I don’t think… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

5th and Alton as a stop is fine but they should of continued the metro mover forward and added another stop on 5th and collins and then loop back. That would of been more useful IMO.

suomynona
suomynona

Will metromover to the beach be free? I doubt it. So how will it connect with the current metromover?

marc
marc

They should just start charging across the board.

suomynona
suomynona

But wasn’t the cost of buying and installing ticketing machines, and their upkeep, more expensive than they were worth?

And didn’t they say the metromover would always be free if the sales tax was increased back whenever?

All I know is that one card MUST allow you to ride the bus, metromover (because at least the Baylink is going to have a fee), metrorail (and I’d hope tri-rail, though that seems unlikely). Use the same system for all of the county’s transit options. I have no idea if metrorail and the buses do that already or not. Sync it to a bank account and have it auto-refill like sunpass tolls.

Albert
Albert

Easy card and the easy pay app already cover trains and buses. I think you can also pay for tri rail with it. It be easy to integrate any new transit into it.

Marc305
Marc305

You had me at …
“The 9-mile Miami to Miami Beach is planned as an elevated metromover route with a cost of $1.2b.”
Awesome! Make it happen!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Problem is this wouldn’t link with their planned street car =

marc
marc

How much of a need would there be for a streetcar if this went all the way up to the convention center which is what it looks like.

Marc305
Marc305

I like this plan much better than their street car mainly because of the flooding that occurs in South Beach. An elevated metromover is by far the better option.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Again, agreed that this is by far the better plan, but then what happens to Miami Beach’s plans? Haven’t they been moving forward already?

The lack of communication and forward-thinking is just unbearable.

marc
marc

I thought they put a halt to their plans because of the uproar from MB citizens and were waiting to see what the mainland was going to do. Maybe they can help with this mode extending it north.

paul
paul

They did put a halt to it on MB. And this plan shows what a bad idea MB’s was- the two plans would have been incompatible- so you would have had to change trains.

suomynona
suomynona

The current plan is pretty bad, too.

Now you get dropped off at 5th and Alton? Then what? Uber to Lincoln Rd, the Convention Center/Fillmore, various other restaurants/shops?

Doesn’t eliminate as many cars as a Miami Beach loop would, and still requires a “transfer”.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Well, not much of one, but then how much of a need is there for the street car in the first place? Just governmental redundancy things

Anonymous
Anonymous

The map is a little outdated. For example, the Metromover to Miami Beach would end at 5th and Alton. The Miami Beach Streetcar would then connect at this terminus. Also, the map shows the Kendall line going to West Kendall whereas as proposed most recently, it looks like the Kendall line will only go up to the Turnpike for now.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Their own internal plan was put on hold a few months ago.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This would be truly transformational for our city!

Edin
Edin

When Miami Dade officials say 2 to 6 years to do something, they really think 10 to 15 years.So this is another big
promise, just to tell “WE DOING SOMETHING”.Miami is already far,far,far,far, behind regarding mass transit ,and waiting another 2 to 6 years just to start this project is to long to wait.
We need to do it NOW.
Start with County and State money,than include federal funding and private investment.
And,of course,line to MB should be already running.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I agree.
We may be on wheelchairs by the time this gets done.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Gee Edin, I said basically the same thing you’re saying, just in more words when I started my comment with “Amusing…,” and so far I’ve gotten three thumbs down votes.

I guess some people don’t understand what I wrote.

Anonymous
Anonymous

The county will have to pay $1.2 Billion for the Marlins Stadium! If commissioners thought a baseball field was worth $1.2B, they should write the check right now for the Miami Beach mover.

marc
marc

They got bamboozled. That is not the price tag they signed off on originally.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Lol. Ay I’m sorry, but i can’t help to chuckle just a little in the 2nd map above at the ” American dream station ” of what I assume will be for the American dream Miami entertainment park. Not complaining though. its cool they got a corridor (C) for it there. I believe from what I can tell, it will be served by the Rapid bus transit or (Bert) as they call it. Hope these buses have dedicated lanes for themselves and not the traditional bus lanes that take forever to get to places. It would of been also nice to have had tri rail connect to it too and more rapid transit light rail or heavy rail to those places big places.

By the way, very happy they have a ” Panther station ” to FIU in the East-West corridor(2). Very much needed. Also the West kendall corridor(3).

Does anyone know what type of Rapid transit train they will use for those ? For both The Panther Station FIU east west(2) and the West Kendall station corridor(3) ?

Anonymous
Anonymous

A lot more people live in that part of the county than other parts getting actual train lines. Middle and upper class people too, unlike a few of the unfortunate ghetto wasteland areas that metrorail passes through today.

It makes far more sense to expand public transportation in those areas of the county where the population density and gridlock is insane for commuters (kendall, doral, hialeah, miami lakes) instead of choosing to build through florida city, opa locka, carol city, norland, etc.

Rod
Rod

Great news! Hope it gets done.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Finally.

Anonymous
Anonymous

“All other routes will be at-grade, which will save money but increase gridlock.” – you have to substantiate that.

suomynona
suomynona

“More.”

Anonymous
Anonymous

I feel bad for the people in Doral. I mean, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in the state, traffic there already is beyond clogged. There is construction for another 50.000 residents in the planning, construction and developing stages and no mass transit is planned through the city. Who in their right mind would move there?

suomynona
suomynona

They can park and ride.

marc
marc

The east/west line would be pretty darn close.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hope that line brings some strong proximity connection to FIU. I work there with the student body exec offices and so many young out of state students want to head downtown and to the beach – conveniently.

Anonymous
Anonymous

lool at the map
the east west line goes to fiu

CEC
CEC

The time to start building the system is now. If the county can only finance one mile now, build one mile. This would be feasible beginning at the Dadeland terminal and continuing south on tracks elevated over the existing bus right-of-way, which I assume is already owned by the county or other governmental agency. Begin the rest of the system one mile at a time (elevated) as financing is available. If the construction is delayed until all financing is in place, the cost will increase every day and construction will be delayed indefinitely.

Friends of NE 59th St Crossing
Friends of NE 59th St Crossing

Northeast Corridor. FEC rail line. All the Crossings need to be kept open. The NE 59th Street Crossing must remain open.

suomynona
suomynona

As in you want the streets to remain operable for vehicles and not permanently closed? I think most people would agree with you that the existing vehicle crossings need to remain open. Otherwise it just becomes a situation like with the bridges downtown that only serve to bottleneck traffic.

marc
marc

Did Tri Rail require street closings in Broward and Palm Beach?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I agree we need to expand mass transit, but shouldn’t we also look into having a fast ferry service between Miami Beach, North Beach and downtown etc. Look at New York City where it was successfully implemented on the East River and it would not take several years to build.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Building at grade mass transit is a waste of money (unless it has absolute right-of-way). No one will ride it if it sits in the same gridlock… only if it gets to pass by that gridlock will they be enticed to leave their cars and Uber rides.

Either pay the enormous cost to build it above grade, or don’t build it at all. But quit wasting money with these solutions that make traffic worse on streets AND do nothing to help mass transit riders.

Metrobus doesn’t fail because it’s on tires vs metal wheels. It fails because you sit in the same traffic as cars… but Metrorail/mover doesn’t. THAT’S the secret to getting people out of cars and onto mass transit.

Pay what it takes to give absolute ROW, or don’t waste money.

marc
marc

Are you in bizarre world? All these lines are heavy rail with their own ROW.

Anonymous
Anonymous

So there will be heavy rail in this proposal ? Which lines are heavy rail ?

marc
marc

I know for sure that the northeast(Tri Rail), south(busway) are. From reading the original report though they all are except the beach/midtown one.

suomynona
suomynona

All of them except the Miami Beach line. The trains won’t be stuck in gridlock. But those poor bastards in their cars won’t be moving AT ALL during rush hour as those trains pass by every few minutes and close side streets at major intersections.

Wang
Wang

Having a transit system that is independent and liberated from motor vehicle traffic is a must for any city that wants to even be under consideration of being global. Linking Brickell, Downtown, the New Park West developments, Omni, Wynwood, Midtown, Edgewater, Design District, South Beach, and Mid-Beach together would create massive synergy and is a bare minimum requirement.

Anonymous
Anonymous

getting my popcorn to watch “Nightmare on 88 St”

Anonymous
Anonymous

So the red line on N Miami Ave that goes up to the Design District will be part of the new elevated metromover line that connects to Miami Beach? That would be a good start at least. Integrating the emerging Midtown/edgewater areas with the downtown/brickell urban core is even more important than the beach connection IMO.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Kind of. That will be TriRail operating on the FEC Coastal (along with AAF). It will connect with the Downtown AAF hub (and, thus, metro), so probably only one-transfer connectivity to the Beach. Not terrible as long as they have more frequent runs than current TriRail routes (wait times up to an hour)

marc
marc

No it is not part of the FEC ROW which would be Tri Rail. The red line he speaks of is connected to the beach line and travels up NMiami Ave.

CEC
CEC

Conntructing any part of the system at-grade is a waste of money. If $3.6 billion is the total amount of money available, build 41 miles, but build it right. Are the trains going to stop at intersections or are the automobiles? No matter it will be a traffic nightmare.

Gregorio
Gregorio

The keywords “will likely increase gridlock” and “grade level rail” has worst idea ever written all over it. The original builders of the rail elevated it over busy Miami streets for a reason. Now every 15 minutes and less there will be a passenger train triggering gate arms and the gridlock mentioned. If you’re going to cut corners to save money Miami-Dade, just don’t do it. To rectify mistakes of this magnitude with our growing residential population will cost a gargantuan amount of funds.

suomynona
suomynona

What? Road crossings being closed every 10 minutes during rush hour so that trains can pass isn’t a good idea?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Look closely at the map. Looks like they are planning to build a new road (sw 187 ave) west of krome ave (sw 177 ave) connecting to Tamiami trail. Anyone else noticed this?

Anonymous
Anonymous

It might be the 836 extension, which would begin from 137 ave. head west and curve south to connect to SW 136 Street.

suomynona
suomynona

That’s not an 836 extension.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Amusing…in the early years of this young century the citizens of MiamiDade County were asked to vote on and approve a gas sales tax that would go towards expanding the County’s rapid rail system, and the citizens did. What happened to the money? Now the citizens are being told that “increasing sales tax, using MDX tolls, auto tag renewal fees, increasing parking violations, gas taxes” and few other things would be needed if this is funded locally and the people will see “starts on all six corridors of this “SMART PLAN” in two to six years.” The elected governmental departments in MiamiDade have a habit of showing it’s population a rosy picture and then dragging it’s feet or just showing how inept it is at doing anything when it comes to solving county wide traffic problems besides expanding freeways and toll booths. If the citizens of MiamiDade are to be burdened with more taxes and fees to get this “SMART” plan initiated, then the citizens must demand that they see construction begin within a two year period. Waiting for anything to happen in a three, four, five, or six year period from now concerning attempts at expanding MiamiDade rapid transit… Read more »
marc
marc

It’s been explained ad nauseam but I’ll tell you as you probably haven’t heard the explanation right? Back in 2002 the administration at that time over promised what a 1/2 penny tax would provide. It wasn’t even enough to pay for the operations of more heavy rail. Instead of going exclusively to rail it was spread out over the entire transit system making it impossible to fund rail expansion.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yo dude, don’t insult me, I’ve seen reason after asinine reason told to the public about the “slight of hand card tricks” that county governmental officials used to explain why the 1/2 penny gas sales was used on things other than what the people voted for. Baylink was proposed way back in 1999, and if the public would’ve seen that get done some twelve years ago the populace would’ve been less anguished over the way things get done now, and it would’ve cost about 1/4 of what they’re saying it would cost to build the same thing now. Now they’re saying at least $1.2 billion to run metromover across the bay?

That is what I’m talking about when I said “foot dragging.”

Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher

This is great news for the County. I hope it doesn’t take them a century to finish the damn project. There will probably be opposition from many of the single family residents adjacent to the Kendall corridor due to noise and unsightliness.

marc
marc

Yeah. Some of the corridors are going to fight it. Probably be a lot of town hall meetings will be held before a shovel will hit the ground. That’s why the corridors with existing ROW’s like the busway, the Coastal Link and the east-west will probably be first.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I agree with all of it except for that giant line all the way to the plantations in homestead, that’s ridiculous and unneeded, while probably also being the 2nd most costly behind the beach.

suomynona
suomynona

100% agree. It should go no farther south than the Southland Mall area. Nobody lives there. The population per square mile to cost ratio there will be through the roof.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Well you obviously don’t In Homestead. Which is one of the fastest growing areas.

AndrewN
AndrewN

Way to think ahead.

suomynona
suomynona

Unfortunately they don’t have the money to build all these lines anyways, let alone to build these lines right (at-grade in street traffic for much of these routes, no Miami Beach loop, only “commuter” rail to northeast Dade, etc).

Fortunately, they don’t need to build to Homestead right now. They can use the current bus system to get to the Southland area and then use the rail.

Why waste money on Homestead when Kendall, FIU, Miami Beach and north Dade corridors are more important TODAY?

Anonymous
Anonymous

If you look at data areas like Cutler Bay and Homestead are growing fast because of high housing prices nearer the city center. I think the South Dade lines would attract many riders.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Funny how some of you are causing an uproar about the metro rail coming to homestead. So here’s my challenge to you all in order to get a better understanding. I dare you guys to commute from Homestead to downtown using the park and ride system. Or drive there. And once the business day is done come back.

suomynona
suomynona

I challenge you to use the bus and ride it to a Southland Mall area metrorail terminus, or to park and ride there. Super challenging.

Anonymous
Anonymous

southland mall?metrorail only gets to dadeland.

suomynona
suomynona

Dadeland? Are you slow? I’m saying extend metrorail to Southland area as a southern terminus.

Anonymous
Anonymous

thats a 45min bus ride…its needed to be extended

suomynona
suomynona

45 minute bus ride? Boo hoo!

Move closer. Drive and use park and ride.

Anonymous
Anonymous

no i love homestead…plus homestead has already got approve to build a mass transit center. so theres that

Anonymous
Anonymous

They forgot to include the Hialeah metrorail terminal in the 2nd map.

I’m a little confused though. What is the red line supposed to be ? Where it’s mapping rapid transit in the 2nd map. Do they mean metro rail for rapid transit (red lines ) or what type of train ?

suomynona
suomynona

Red is new “rail”. Purple is current rail. Green is supposedly new rapid bus.

Concerned citizen MK
Concerned citizen MK

How much are the eminent domain lawsuits going to cost to accomplish these new rapid transit routes????? Is that included in the fiscal estimate?

suomynona
suomynona

It’s rather telling that the City’s estimate is nearly half that of the consultant. Miami Dade will start building and then find themselves short several billion dollars to complete the lines is how I envision this going.

Leonardo
Leonardo
I really like the idea of the metromuver going to south beach especially since it already connect with government center. All they have to do is extend from the station next to the art and science museum so it works out perfectly. But I do think the metromuver cars needed to change. First they needed to me interconnected on the inside they get realky pack in rush hour and it’s very uncomfortable at lease if they connect on the inside that creates a bit more room for people to move around. Second why can’t it be 3 cars instead of two max? If they make it interconnect they they can add more cars especially the line to south beach woukd be really pack so I’m sure they will need as much room possible. Third I really hope that it makes a loop around south beach instead of using the streetcar that’s just going to make traffic worse. I really hope someone with contact within our local government tell out pollution how to do things right. They should do a little bit of everything to make money to make the smart plan a reality I thing they really need to look… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

Send lobbyists to Trump tomorrow, things should start moving much faster now that Republicans are in charge! Tell Rubio to forget about Russia and start working day and night on federal financing for Miami raid transit. We need more tunnels, though.

marc
marc

You know Republicans historically are against subsidizing mass transit but for more spending on roads? Just sayin.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Trump is not like other Republicans. He wants infrastructure and for it to be done properly. No bullshit quotas, special favors to inferior contractors, or pet projects. We need more government accountability after what happened with the 1/2 cent tax anyway.

Anonymous
Anonymous

very well said. he’s a n yorker, he would b enticed to support the lines. besides, he loves s fl

suomynona
suomynona

Oh, bother.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yeah, Trump wants things moving so fast he initiated a hiring freeze on the Federal Government his first week in office.

Anonymous
Anonymous

he is created more private industry jobs than his predecessor and is only in power 1 month

Anonymous
Anonymous

Source?

suomynona
suomynona

Uh, it was widely reported by every media outlet there is. Unless you think mainstream media is “fake”.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yeah, and Trump need to create some kind of special schooling that teaches dummies how to write a coherent sentence.

suomynona
suomynona

Drumpf would build the school and then not pay the construction workers who built it.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Metromover serves Greater Downtown Miami, so it makes no sense to expand it to Miami Beach. It’s going to be elevated in the first place, so cost differences would be minimal using Metrorail. Also, the line will certainly see a lot of usage, and needs the greater capacity which Metrorao.

What happened to the idea of a streetcar?

marc
marc

The price difference is not minimal. One is engineered for a 2 car rubber tire system with a top speed of 30 mph the other would have to be engineered to elevate a 4-6 car heavy rail system with a top speed of 50. Not the same thing. Elevating heavy rail is very expensive.

Anonymous
Anonymous

For three to six billion, the difference is worth it, and costs can be cut elsewhere. It’s not like a tunnel is being proposed over traffic at one bridge, or the airport wants citizens to fund renovating a perfectly fine terminal, only to demolish it about a decade later.

Why the hell do we need the Metrorail to expand further south into Homestead? Some routes have considerable overlap, and should be spaced out where they’re building from scratch.

Bryan
Bryan

Homestead is one of the fastest growing areas in the county. New construction and an abundance of SFU at the 250k-400k range. The US1 corridor has some of the highest bus/transit transfer usage because of our existing infrastructure and ROW. Look at the busway stations along US1 and the park and rides. Now parking at these park and rides are limited with the population explosion. In the morning the bus lines are long with professionals. Transit is catching on and will take away some cars for those closer to the CBD.

Anonymous
Anonymous

We should plan transit to retrofit existing built-out suburban areas from the past seventy-five years with infill and transit oriented development over further sprawl. Park and ride is a limited solution and fails to address the walkability issues Miami has faced for so long.

Bryan
Bryan

Yes this is what’s happening down south. I’m near Goulds and smart developers are buying land like crazy next to the US1 rail corridor all the way to Homestead. Building TIC housing and income restricted apartment complexes next to US1. They see the tea leaves and we all should see them. Density is increasing but in the outer suburban areas.

suomynona
suomynona

Homestead should not have metrorail. That’s ridiculous.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Once again more than likely you don’t live in Homestead and doesn’t understand the pain to go up north for work or school. The metro is heavily needed down here!

Bryan
Bryan
Yea I’ve felt that pain. But also used that time to be productive as u passively commute. Every morning to UM for school and for a period to work in Brickell. South Dade residents use the bus and trains heavily because of traffic and US1 provides access to a lot of job centers and schools. The fact we already have the ROW(Busway-also a great bicycling trail)is the biggest benefit and its why we have already seen and will continue to get investments with new busses with WIFI, Premium Coach busses at one point and plans for elevated crossings at intersections. Plus US1 is arguably our most important corridor. I’ve been using bus and trains for years and they are really investing a lot down south because this is where people are moving and these new out of town residents are more likely to use transit than the native (often look down on public transit) Some of the highest density areas on the mainland closer to downtown have lower usage for transit because residents don’t see an advantage For residents down US1 to homestead, the benefit is not sitting in traffic on the US1 bottle necks, 200st, 152st, 136st, 88st all… Read more »
suomynona
suomynona

Oh boo hoo. The pain!

Anonymous
Anonymous

very expensive and discourages people from using it, people don’t want to climb three stories to ride

Anonymous
Anonymous

Don’t want to climb 3 stories to ride?. LOL. you know they have escalators and elevators right ? You make it sound like they have to climb a rock wall or an oak tree. LOL.

suomynona
suomynona

GET OUT OF HERE! If you’re too lazy, too old or too unhealthy to walk up a few flights of stairs, USE THE ELEVATORS!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Metromover serves Greater Downtown Miami, so it makes no sense to expand it to Miami Beach. It’s going to be elevated in the first place, so cost differences would be minimal using Metrorail. Also, the line will certainly see a lot of usage, and needs the greater capacity which Metrorao.

What happened to the idea of a streetcar?

suomynona
suomynona

The light rail was shelved a few months back after backlash. Apparently there were some idiots telling residents that the light rail wasn’t going to connect to downtown and would only make traffic worse on the Beach. They called it the “streetcar to nowhere”; something like that.

The reason elevated metromover makes more sense than elevated metrorail is because heavy rail would NEVER get approval from Miami Beach residents.

Oscar
Oscar

Cost difference between heavy rail (Metrorail) and light rail (Metromover) is enormous regardless as to whether both are elevated or not.

Anonymous
Anonymous

*which Metrorail offers.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Some of these routes do not have the density to the rail investment. I suspect they are included for political reasons.

AndrewN
AndrewN

Yet. Density is not decreasing.

marc
marc

Right. The density around Dadeland was similar back in the early eighties and look at the areas around Dadeland North and South stations. We need to be proactive and stop being reactive.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Exactly

Anonymous
Anonymous

And this is the kind of thinking that got us in trouble in the first place.

Movi
Movi

Exactly!!

suomynona
suomynona

Yup. Cut out the Homestead extension. Stop the rail around Southland Mall.

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