Westward Ho! Mayor sees rail expansion
Written by Scott Blake on April 23, 2014
Not only is Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez pushing for Miami-Miami Beach passenger rail, but his office also is considering a rail line into the western part of the county.
The proposed Beach rail “is a very near-future need,” Mr. Gimenez said Monday to the Mayoral Business Roundtable, “and we have to start thinking about going east-west.”
He called the current state of county mass transit “an untenable situation…. We have to do something about transportation in this county.” Although he didn’t provide details, he mentioned the Beach rail and said the county also should start working toward “a project that goes west.”
He and the roundtable – selected leaders of Miami-Dade businesses – alluded to long commutes for much of the workforce and regular traffic congestion around the area as a big quality of life issue for residents and an economic drag.
Greater Miami has passenger rail downtown and north and south of the city, as well as near Miami International Airport, but none that reaches into congested west and southwest suburbs.
Miami is “really starting to take off” as a top-tier international city, Mr. Gimenez said, and it must prepare for the future. “We know we need additional transit projects,” he added.
He and the business leaders agreed transportation should be the first issue the roundtable tackles in-depth. At its next meeting at Government Center in about a month, the group is expected to start work on specific transportation initiatives and how to accomplish them.
Mr. Gimenez recently formed the roundtable to develop ideas for improving the economy and to help the county deal with a current budget shortfall and ongoing financial constraints.