It's trolley time: Experimental program will have rubber-tired transporters running through Health District
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Miami's first municipal trolleys could soon be rolling around the Health District, an experiment that could lead to running trolleys throughout the urban core.
Miami's Health District rubber-tired trolleys will serve as a pilot to study similar circulator projects as city officials look to ease traffic congestion.
Under the proposal, Miami would first buy four trolleys to run on a two-way loop, stopping at 14 institutions, nine garages and Metrorail's Civic Center station, said Jose Gonzalez, the city's assistant transportation coordinator. The city has yet to decide whether to charge a fare.
The Florida Department of Transportation granted Miami funds to help pay the estimated $750,000 a year cost of operating the trolleys. State funds would cover 50% of the fleet's operating and maintenance. The city would pay its share from its portion of a half-percent transit surtax on sales.
The city commission is to vote on the joint agreement Nov. 13.
The 2004 creation of the Miami Partnership to promote revitalization of the Health District led to the vision for the trolleys. The district is the second-largest employment center in Miami-Dade, with 100,000 persons transiting daily, Mr. Gonzalez said. It's bounded roughly by the Miami River and Northwest 20th Street, Seventh Avenue and 12th Avenue.
Once the city-state funding pact is approved, Miami would seek bids from vendors. The winning bidder would provide vehicles, drivers, fuel, maintenance and storage and the city would oversee, monitor and market the trolleys, he said.
The bidding process takes time, Mr. Gonzalez said, but he said trolleys could start rolling as soon as a contract is signed.