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.