Deal For Brightline To Build Commuter Rail System Nearly Ready

Negotiations on a deal for Brightline to build a commuter rail system on its tracks are “advancing very nicely,” according to a recent report on the SFBJ.

Miami-Dade commissioners will probably vote on the deal in June or July, the report said.

While Brightline will build the system, it will likely be operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Agency, which operates Tri-Rail.

The Biden administration announced in March it is recommending federal funding support for the project.

The feds would fund $263.7 million. The total budget is $538 million, with Miami-Dade and FDOT already committed to fund the remainder ($171m from the county, and $104m from FDOT).

Broward County is planning public information meetings next week on extending the system to Fort Lauderdale.

The Broward extension would run 11.5 miles, with stations proposed in the City of Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, South Fort Lauderdale, and Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

 

A total of seven Miami-Dade stations are planned, starting at MiamiCentral and Aventura:

 

A total of four Broward stations are being considered in the first phase. Later, a northward expansion could add additional stations:

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Jesus
10 days ago

While I’m happy this is happening, I want to point out that this area needed metrorail expanded with at least twice as many stations many years ago. Something is better than nothing but in order to make our area better, alleviate traffic, and make our quality of life better, this was a missed opportunity. I’m hoping they add more stations through the years

Anonn
10 days ago

Amen. Even the Broward portion has half the stations of the Coastal Link study. Hallandale and Dania Beach downtowns getting the shaft. The latter has seen decent growth in the area around the proposed station

anonymous
10 days ago

Most likely if ridership is high enough they will expand along the rail itself. This would be ideal because it would allow for rezoning to be done in advance around the newer stations

Miami Urban
10 days ago

I hate this idea that you build a subpar public transit line then only improve it once ridership increases. Who’s gonna ride an at grade rail line with 30-60 minute headways and few stops. They should plan for high ridership when they first build the line

anonymous
10 days ago

So youre perfectly fine spending $100s of millions of dollars potentially to add more stations without really knowing how many people will actually be riding from those stations?

Zz01
10 days ago

@anonymous, what’s the point of doing a study if you aren’t going to act upon the results if the study? If the study says there will be good ridership, build according to that.

anonymous
9 days ago

Clearly they did a study and decided on the locations to build. I only miss i see on the Dade portion is having a station at 79th street.

Evan
10 days ago

Build it and they will come

Jordan
9 days ago

$100s of millions?
Why not spend $3billion, it’s free money!

Jordan
9 days ago

Okay.
Every teenager’s first car should be a Suburban XL, because one day, they might have 4 children and they will need the capacity.

Anonymous
10 days ago

I hoping by the time this is done they’ll be ready to extend Metrorail to Hard Rock stadium as well as maybe one other Metrorail expansion such as south beach. There’s also the East-West commuter rail to the dolphin mall and FIU area or even Tri Rail to homestead. More coverage is better coverage so if Metrorail to other areas than gets a priority then it’s worth it

Anonymous
9 days ago

The residents of South Beach have clearly said they don’t want Metrorail, Metro Mover, a monorail or Light rail. I guess they are fine with the traffic congestion. I do think additional Tri-rail (or Metrorail) expansion down to Homestead and other areas are a great idea.

Kurt
10 days ago

Last time I checked Metrorail isn’t compatible with freight rail or commuter rail. Also how can you run a Metrorail on Biscayne when it’s 2 lanes in each direction and a middle turning lane from north of the I-195 till 123rd St.

Swami
9 days ago

The game changer in public transportation is going to be the perfection of self driving technology that enables affordable first/last mile service to/from the stations and local transportation hubs, thus boosting ridership and network expansion.

Jordan
9 days ago

The game changer in private transportation will be fully autonomous cars.

Once you take the cost of an Uber driver out of the Uber cost, the ride from Brickell to Ft. Lauderdale will be about $12.

E A
10 days ago

This is going to be a game changer! Good stuff

Bob
10 days ago

Very poor and disappointing vision here by local leaders, this needs to be a rapid transit corridor not a low frequency a commuter rail line. This poor planning will lead to disappointing results and only hurt the case for better transit options in the future.

Anonymouse
10 days ago

Agree, if you want the frequency of every ten minutes , then it should be light rail. Commuter trains were never meant to be rapid transit , because of the frequency . Look at any smartly run city anywhere , that has the efficient rapid system and it is a combination of metro , light rail , buses and for longer distances commuter rail . This is what works . And this is not reinventing the wheel.
BTW ,from the practical and logical point there should be a station at Biscayne and 163 St.
and at 79 St. These are large arteries bringing people across the bay from M. Beach an mass.
It would make sense . Plus there are plans for thousands more apartments around 163 and 79 Sts.

parkinghater
9 days ago

is the light rail in the room with us now?

metrorail which btw is heavy rail runs 5 minute peak. Go transit in Canada is gonna run 15 minute peak regional rail.

seriously dude, lightrail? lol

79th Street Committee
3 days ago

I agree. The two main arteries into MB and Sunny Isles , which would alleviate traffic congestion are skipped. Who put this together? Do they live Miami? You’d have to be blind .

Broward Dude
9 days ago

There are some “commuter rail” systems with frequencies approaching rapid transit- the better term for it is probably “regional rail”. Toronto changed their GO “commuter rail” to “regional rail” and increased frequencies to every 15 mins all day with the same infrastructure. Many european and east asian cities also achieve 10-15 minute all day frequencies. The problem for us isn’t the infrastructure/rails themselves, it’s the grade crossings leading to politicians wanting to limit the frequency to avoid having cars wait at crossings, and a lack of operating funding. If tri-rail for example had a couple more locomotives and more operating funds to pay drivers, they could achieve that frequency right now.

Anonymous too
9 days ago

I think the line will need to prove itself as far as ridership goes before they add more frequent trains. There are plenty of Commuter Rail and Regional Rail systems that run 30-60 minute headways in major population centers (SEPTA Regional Rail in Philly, NJ Transit, METRA in Chicago…etc.). Their ridership is higher than this will ever be (they use longer trains). It’s also more cost efficient to electrify if you run frequently, but a lot more expensive to build the infrastructure. The problem with further expansion north of south Fort Lauderdale is the New River drawbridge, until that gets resolved it won’t ever go further north. It needs to be high bridge (cheaper) or tunnel (much more expensive). I can’t imagine having to keep water out of a tunnel with our weather and climate. A tunnel would be a nightmare. It’s unfortunate that EVERYTHING takes so long to build. Even Brightline’s extra passenger cars are late because Siemans is so busy.

Jordan
9 days ago

Ahhhh…..don’t be scared.

You don’t even have to imagine. Just take a ride to PortMiami and drive in the tunnel underneath Government cut. It is longer than the other tunnel under the New River.

Tunnels aren’t a nightmare. Don’t be scared.

anonymous
10 days ago

This will be great to hopefully alleviate some traffic coming from northern dade as people in these areas can now catch a commuter train that should be significantly cheaper than brightline. This will also spur growth in the areas surrounding the stations.

Anonymous
10 days ago

This is fantastic news! However, instead of waiting for the whole system to be ready in 3 years, maybe the Tri-Rail that comes down everyday to Miami Central could begin stopping now and we would not have to wait 3 years. Maybe Little Haiti, Design District and Wynwood which it passes 12 times a day. Wynwood needs a stop asap.

Evan
10 days ago

Well you have to build the stations

Anonymous
9 days ago

I wonder if future Tri-rail trains using the new Miami Central link will stop at those new stations after they’re built and it won’t be just the NE corridor commuter trains. Having at least some of them stop would be a good idea. It greatly expands transportation options. Those stations will need extra tracks so Brightline and freight trains can easily pass a commuter train.

Cover the Podiums
10 days ago

going to FLL will now be a breeze. No more crazy uber rides

Fern
10 days ago

I really hope they do not skimp on the frequency. If trains come only once an hour I can’t imagine this being much use to people along the line. Three per hour should be the lowest acceptable service

anonymous
10 days ago

Ideally it would be every ten minutes during peak hours in the morning and evening then every 20-30 minutes during non peak hours

Anonny
10 days ago

West Pines/Miramar needs a station

Look at me. I am the captain now.
9 days ago

They would get a NW Metrorail extension station or park and ride at the county line north of the American Dream mall or at worst hard rock stadium at 27th ave and the county line.

Anonymous
10 days ago

Don’t let the Feds hold it up with frivolous conditions. Brightline knows it will pay for itself.

parkinghater
9 days ago

lol the feds are the only reason this is happening, they’re freaking paying for half of it

Charlie
10 days ago

If someone read this comment, please let Brightline, Tri-Rail, and Miami-Dade County know, do not forget we need a south west extension around the 836, hopefully one day we can have a train from Homestead to Downtown Miami

anonymous
9 days ago

I’d hope that as more dense developments happen in the cutler/homestead area they would eventually extend the metrorail to at lease southland mall

Existing rail lines
3 days ago

There are Rail lines all over the county, including Homestead. They could have this up running on existing lines in a couple of years, if the owners of the rail lines were forced to negotiate with the county.

Anonymous
10 days ago

We need more than commuter rail, we need rail for every day neighborhood hopping to see a doctor or go to meetings or whatever else may come up within the city.

Miami
9 days ago

79th street ?

Yan Jammer
10 days ago

Hallandale overlooked again

Yawn
10 days ago

Boring town of Russian oligarchs and retirees 🥱

Anonymous
10 days ago

I thought that was SIB. Hallandale is French Canadian snow backs.

Anon
9 days ago

My point still stands.

Kitty w
10 days ago

Great to see but the point is it could have existed this whole time with proper funding and actual follow-through by elected leaders. The lack of vision on the part of elected officials is why we live in perpetual gridlock now. This could have been done a long time ago with the commuter tax.

Arock
9 days ago

Yeah we already have a commuter tax Nice try The one percent penny sales tax that’s one and then the tolls and the express lanes that’s the other how many more do you want yeah I thought so Go sit down

Anonymous
10 days ago

It’s crazy Miami shores wouldn’t want a station

Anonymous
10 days ago

They do want it and it makes the most geographical sense to put one there. The powers at be got lobbied HARD to move it to the new Magic City development..SHAME

Anonymous
10 days ago

Magic City will be full of apartment towers soon

Tom
10 days ago

Who is “they”? Miami Shores residents (or at least the village council they elected) do not want it. The Village is extremely NIMBY – they don’t want multi-family, trains, public transit or anything that will change the car dependent suburban feel of the area.

EJS
10 days ago

It will only really be a game-changer if the prices are set (none of Bright line’s congestion pricing nonsense) and if the prices are subsidized by the County. Keep it cheap and separate from the regular Bright line service.

anonymous
10 days ago

Im guessing it will be priced similar to Trirail since the same people will be running this. Prob have a monthly unlimited ride pass for around $150 like Trirail

Jordan
9 days ago

So, in other words….it will only be economically feasible, if people who do not use it will pay the fare for people who do use it.

Rail Observer
9 days ago

Where to begin with this mess? This corridor was one of the original MetroRail corridors years ago, never happened. Then it was identified as a TriRail Coastal Link, but FEC blocked access. FEC has now been split into the track ownership of Grupo Mexico and Brightline, which seems to have control of the tracks during the daytime. Which means they are now the ones holding access hostage and demanding tribute from the counties, driving up costs.

Brightline doesn’t want to really run this service, mind you, lest all those grubby, low-end commuters end up breathing the same air as their ultra-Uber-on-rails taxi service for the rich that goes out of its way to not integrate with public transit. They just want to be paid for the daytime use of the tracks that they got from FEC so that they can continue their real-estate shell game with expansions to Tampa, Brightline West, etc.

So other than adding an extra layer of cost and making this take a decade longer than it should have, what is Brightline’s role here? TriRail, one of the only commuter agencies in the country that did not actually serve a CBD or even a town center anywhere on its route, badly needs Coastal Link to supplement their new downtown connection (which Brightline also extracted a price for), so get it done already! A trip to Fort Lauderdale airport or other stops should be frequent and low-cost, and there is no better place to do it than along gridlocked US1/I95. Go!

ParkingHater
9 days ago

This is trirail dude.Brightline isn’t running the service

Look at me. I am the captain now.
9 days ago

but Big Brightline and co. are in charge now, and even though they built stuff, now that’s actually slowing regular transit and making new fees.

Build the train
10 days ago

Let’s get it built! Hopefully Brightline charges more modest fares for short rides like downtown to the design district. If an Uber is less, it’s not worth it.

parkinghater
9 days ago

will not be operated by brightline. SFTRA (tri-rail) will run it and set prices

Francisco
9 days ago

When are we getting an East-West rail service in Miami Dade it is long overdue thru the center of the city.

Miami Dade Resident
9 days ago

What about south dade ?

Darin
7 days ago

Nice, but what would happen to Tri-Tail? Also why do they never think to do lightrail running westward throughout the metro?

Lynx at Miami Tower
7 days ago

Even fort Lauderdale in the bluest county in the state couldn’t pull off a downtown light rail. The wave was hard cancelled.

Lynx at Miami Tower
4 days ago

Ironically now Broward is calling for a elevated tourist light rail between the airport and the port and convention center, only connected to downtown FTL if Brightline or the Northeast Corridor commuter rail is built.

Anonymous
10 days ago

Lemon City, not Little Haiti.

anonynony
10 days ago

crazy comment

Walter Matthieu
10 days ago

Not really, was historical erasure that the name was changed. Lemon City predates Miami.

anonynony
10 days ago

Not the reason why the original comment was made though.

Anonymous
10 days ago

No, Little Haiti is a district of Lemon City. The City buckled to the feels of a select few who no longer even live there, in renaming an entire area.

same place, new name
10 days ago

the only constant thing is change…

Damian Kenneth
10 days ago

God Bless the Biden Administration, take that haters.

Parkinghater
10 days ago

🫡 and don’t forget Pete and mayor cava for getting this over the finish line. amazing stuff

Anonymous
10 days ago

None did anything other than throwing money. Just as well because Pete is more unqualified to run the DoT than a ham sandwich.

Glo
10 days ago

Why is Hallandale always underestimated

Anon
10 days ago

“build the system” as in new tracks? Or would they share the same tracks?

Parkinghater
10 days ago

Passing tracks and stations

Anonymous
10 days ago

Mostly on the same tracks with a few extra tracks near stations is what I have heard.

Cheetah Chrome
8 days ago

What should have been done making this a rapid transit corridor and you guessed it… Metrorail. And I see absolutely no reason why MetroRail and Brightline can’t share that same piece of real estate and just split hairs by having both their tracks run alongside each other. How difficult is it to run 4 tracks alongside each other? Brightline is not a high density transportation platform and doesn’t directly service neighborhoods like Wynwood, Midtown, Edgewater… All the way to Aventura/Ives Dairy Rd.

Kurt
6 days ago

You can’t run heavy rail next to commuter or intercity rail unless they are separated. Also last time I checked Brightline’s parent company owns the tracks

Deed
7 days ago

Sorry, I’m sure the half billion dollars will get spent, but there’s no way this project gets built. Pattern recognition

The 79th Street Station Committee
6 days ago

79th Street Station. 79th Street Station.
It’s inexcusable that there isn’t a station on 79th street; a major traffic artery into and out of Miami Beach. Please don’t give us the excuse that there isn’t space for it. There’s plenty of space for it. Someone please contact the Feds or the State and ask them to halt the funds unless there’s a station on 79th Street with a bus shuttle that takes you down the causeway to Collin’s Ave.

Anonymous
6 days ago

The issue is the curve at 79 th street or that’s what they say. It’s probably that the Magic City money gave them the edge to use the curve excuse. Either way, they just need to build the project now and add 79 th street in the future. We cant afford any more delays.

RTZ Attorney
6 days ago

Will Dev sites within a certain distance of each train station mean they will qualify as TOD meaning much less parking requirements?

RTZ Attorney
4 days ago

does this mean Design District will become a TOD meaning dev sites nearby will not have to abide by Craig Robbins’ ridiculous parking rules?

Jimrianio
9 days ago

It makes me so mad that they’re building that disgusting billion dollar “iconic” bridge that will be filled up with traffic months after it finishes. While they could have spent it on building more lanes for brightline.

Jordan
9 days ago

The bridge was unsafe and deteriorating.
It needed to be fixed.