FYI Miami: June 27, 2013
PARADING NUMBERS: Miami Heat’s 2013 NBA Championship parade Monday brought a record number of passengers to South Florida’s Commuter Tri-Rail. Counts show that 19,060 people rode Tri-Rail that day, according to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, most of them headed for the Miami Heat Victory Parade. This passenger count was the highest paid ridership in the 24-year history of the commuter rail system, surpassed only by Dump the Pump Day on June 16, 2011, when the commuter rail system carried 19,731 passengers without charge in support of the American Public Transportation Association’s national effort to promote the benefits of riding mass transit.
FINAL NEGOTIATIONS: The Miami Intermodal Center, which will link multiple forms of transportation in a single terminal beside Miami International Airport, is closer to new ownership. The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority is in the final stages of negotiation with the Florida Department of Transportation in order to acquire it by the end of the year, says expressway authority board member Rick Rodriguez Piña.
ROCKING ALONG: Miami-Dade’s Transportation & Aviation Committee has cleared for takeoff an Aviation Department deal to have the Florida Department of Transportation manage a limestone rock mining venture at the site of the now-defunct Opa-locka West General Aviation Airport. The airport hopes to extract between $246 million and $473 million from the deal. The airport’s 422 acres are expected to have as much as 50 million tons of limestone under their surface. The agreement with the state would have the transportation department cut a deal with a mining venture and manage the mining but flip the contract for the deal back to the county. Approval by the committee sends the venture to the full county commission for action. The airport would use proceeds to repay bonds issued for Miami International Airport’s almost-completed expansion.
RAIL CARS ON TRACK: A county committee has forwarded to the full Miami-Dade Commission a plan to spend $11.2 million for four more rail cars for the MIA Mover, the automated rail link between Miami International Airport and the nearby Miami Intermodal Center. The four cars, to be purchased from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, would bring the system to capacity. The rail line serves a booming hub for 16 rental car companies at the 3.4-million-square-foot intermodal center. The added rail cars are to be funded by airport revenue bonds. Last year 39.5 million passengers passed through the airport, up more than 3% from the prior year. The full commission is to decide whether to purchase the four rail cars.