agency to seek rail funds from Miami International Airport
plans to connect Metrorail to Miami International Airport advance,
transportation planners want to know if the Miami-Dade Aviation Department
can share in the project's $180 million cost.
officials have been asked to have an answer next month.
Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees transportation
planning for the county, met late last week to discuss, among other
things, connecting the Earlington Heights Metrorail station to the
Miami Intermodal Center, to be built on airport grounds. No airport
officials were at the meeting.
the help of a $164 million loan from the Florida Department of Transportation,
the center a transportation hub would include a rental
car depot to be completed by 2004.
airport's ongoing $5.4 billion capital improvement program includes
the intermodal center, new concourses and terminals, and runway enhancements,
among other things.
Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr., who is also one of the transportation
planning organization's board members, said since the rail would connect
to the center, it is as much an aviation improvement as it is transportation.
asked the organization's staff to find out if the work could be categorized,
at least in part, as an aviation project.
is important that we don't make a determination that this is a transit
project until we are certain that it can't be an aviation department
project," Mr. Teele said referring to the possibility of using
aviation funds to help pay for the rail extension.
spokesman said Tuesday the aviation department was not aware of Mr.
Teele's request. "To the best of my knowledge we have not been
informed about it," said Marc Henderson.
plan is to connect a rail line west from the Earlington Heights Metrorail
station at 41st Street between Northwest 22nd Avenue and 17th Street
to the proposed intermodal center, which would be built almost in
the center of the airport complex.
the cost of the rail project is estimated at $180 million, no source
of the money has been secured, said Manny Palmeiro, Miami-Dade Transit
Agency spokesperson. He said once funding is firm the project could
begin but officials expect it to start between 2007 and 2009.
Palmeiro said federal funds usually finance close to 80% of such massive
Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler said she thinks considering the
airport as a funding source is a good idea but might not fly with
is clearly something that is aviation-related," she said.
Teele said the project would benefit airport staff the most.
biggest user of this system would be airline employees," Mr.
have said the connector would also benefit the average county resident
and members of the business community. The Metrorail does not now
connect to the airport.
Manager Merrett Stierheim said he would ask staff to see if the project
could be considered an aviation issue. Staff are to have an update
at the next Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting Oct. 19 in
county commission chambers.