County Pursues Watertaxi System
Written by Charlotte Libov on February 16, 2006
By Charlotte Libov
A water-taxi system fueled by federal funds to ferry commuters via Biscayne Bay to downtown Miami could result from a county commission vote last week.
The system could help unsnarl downtown congestion, commissioners said as they unanimously directed County Manager George Burgess to work with the Metropolitan Planning Organization to see if a public-private partnership could be formed to develop water transportation.
"This plan would take people off the highways and give them a direct route south to downtown, which would be quicker," said Commissioner Dorrin Rolle.
The resolution says a one-stop water transportation system could zip passengers from the county’s south and northeast to downtown.
At the meeting, Commissioner Dennis Moss, resolution sponsor, suggested waterborne routes could be a pilot project where resources already exist and no major investment would be required.
José Luis Mesa, staff director for the Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the resolution stemmed from a planning organization study of which waterways could provide such a system.
"We looked at the inland canals," he said, "but that would not be feasible because of the bridges and culverts."
But, he said, the bay poses a route with stops at Black Point to the south and Aventura and Sunny Isles to the north for parking and boarding.
The commission’s action enables the planning organization to issue a letter of interest, he said, seeking offers of proposals. Federal funding is available for projects that would create a public-private partnership, he said.
A water taxi system like one that currently serves Fort Lauderdale might be provided, he said.
"We need to see how many entities might be interested," he said, "and then look into funding to create a pilot program with boats and vessels."