Investment Firm Offering To Build Streetcar System In Miami Beach For Zero Down

Miami Beach has received an unsolicited proposal to build a streetcar system in South Beach – but it won’t take you to across the bay.

An investment firm that includes Alstom is proposing to build the system for $148 million, according to documents obtained by Doug Hanks (Miami Today first reported it.) Miami Beach would pay $1 million per year for 35 years, including the cost of operations, and could avoid a lengthy application for federal funding.

The streetcar wouldn’t cross the causeway to connect with the mainland, and would only include eight to ten stations in South Beach, but a former lobbyist for Alstom said that he hopes that the city and county might step in and build the remainder of the Bay Link project, which is estimated to cost a total of $532 million.

In Miami Beach, the system would utilize the same clogged lanes of traffic and run along the same route that buses now use.  A website called Brokensidewalk.com claims that streetcars have the advantage of making the route more obvious to passengers and offer more comfort, attracting more passengers than buses.

Mayor Philip Levine is recommending that commissioners reject the proposal which had a deadline of October 22, in order to give competitors more time to bid.