Transit studies out, revenue hunt in
Written by Lidia Dinkova on February 25, 2015
The head of the Miami-Dade County committee that targets transportation says he wants transit projects to become more than just ideas on paper. The county has commissioned studies on new transit but committee members say little has come to fruition.
“We have seen over the last couple of years every study possible done on corridors and what needs to be done. I don’t propose that this committee should launch any more studies or investigations or think-tanks,” said Esteban Bovo Jr., who chairs the Transit and Mobility Services Committee. “What I do believe has to be our mission is to identify sources of funding that could… get these projects done.”
Projects on the table include light rail to link downtown and Miami Beach and a streetcar line in Miami’s urban core. Both ideas pre-date the past recession but construction has started on neither.
“I’m not here today to commit to one corridor or another,” Commissioner Bovo told the meeting. “But I will tell you this: We need to pick a corridor and we need to get it done.”
He went as far as to say that if there’s no dedicated funding by the end of his two years as committee chairman, he’d consider his tenure “a failure.”
Mr. Bovo added that he will approach congressional and state legislature leaders about Miami-Dade’s traffic woes.
“I don’t expect the federal government to fund 80% of our projects,” he said. “What I do expect is for us to come up with a plan that is funded 80% and ask them to top it off.”
The county collects a half-cent sales surtax that was meant to expand Metrorail. But revenue was diverted and just one of eight promised projects was built.
Among revenue sources that Mr. Bovo mentioned at the first committee meeting Feb. 11 are a bed tax and public-private partnerships.