County again defers rail link to Miami Beach
Written by Susan Danseyar on April 19, 2016
For the second time, county commissioners Tuesday deferred a vote on an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation and cities of Miami and Miami Beach to develop a mainland rail link to Miami Beach.
Prime sponsor Bruno Barreiro said he doesn’t want to hold up the deal but provided scant information why he requested to defer a vote indefinitely other than that further analysis is probing Miami-Dade’s role and responsibilities.
On Feb. 4, the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Executive Committee, comprised of the mayors of Miami-Dade, Miami and Miami Beach and county commissioners Xavier Suarez and Mr. Barreiro, unanimously agreed to build what was once termed Baylink, a fixed-guideway rail corridor linking downtown Miami near Government Center to the Miami Beach Convention Center via the MacArthur Causeway.
The six-page agreement details the need for a federal environmental study that could take years and cost $10 million. The cities and county agree to each contribute $417,000, the state $5 million and the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust $3.75 million. If it isn’t all spent, funds would be returned proportionally.
Light rail connecting Miami Beach with the mainland could cost more than $532 million.
“The parties wish to continue the efforts already underway to improve regional mobility which has involved local, regional and state stakeholder collaboration and coordination including ongoing efforts to identify optimum multimodal alternatives for a balanced regional transportation system,” the multi-party agreement states. “The development of a multimodal transportation system within the southeast Florida region involves numerous transportation agencies and stakeholders and is a complex undertaking.”