FYI Miami: April 2, 2015
TRI-RAIL FUNDING: Miami-Dade County has committed $13.8 million in soft pledges to partially fund expansion of Tri-Rail service to downtown Miami. The funds have yet to be approved by the county commission. Tri-Rail commuter trains now stop in West Miami-Dade; to bring the trains to downtown would cost about $69 million. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he supports the effort and a county contribution of $13.8 million from revenues it collects from a half-cent sales surtax. Michael Hernández, the mayor’s spokesman, told Miami Today on Monday that the county doesn’t plan to increase its financial commitment to the project. “We think that’s a sufficient investment from Miami-Dade County as of right now,” Mr. Hernández said. The state, City of Miami and Tri-Rail’s operating agencies have also committed funds but a gap of about $29 million remains. The City of Miami is looking at a financing plan to meet the shortfall.
MEXICO BOUND: Miami International Airport added its first new international destination of 2015 when Aeromexico Flight 425 from Monterrey touched down last week. The inaugural Monterrey-Miami flight marks the start of daily service between Miami and Mexico’s third-largest metropolitan area. According to MIA officials, Monterrey is a major business hub and home to numerous multinational corporations. This represents Miami’s fifth Mexico destination, joining Cancún, Cozumel, Mérida and Mexico City. Aeromexico will operate the route from their Monterrey hub using a 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft. MIA hub carrier American Airlines has also announced plans for service between the two cities, with six weekly flights scheduled to begin June 4.
PARK REOPENS: The City of Miami reopened Merrie Christmas Park last week after it had been closed to address contamination. Environmental remediation at the park, at South LeJeune Road and Barbarrosa Avenue, began in August 2014 and included removal of structures, sidewalks and park features in order to excavate 12 to 24 inches of potentially contaminated soil from specified areas and install 12 to 24 inches of clean fill. The work also included pruning tree roots, refurbishing playground equipment, and installing bonded rubber mulch around banyan trees, new sidewalks, and rubberized material within the playground surface area. A new drinking fountain will soon be installed. The project cost about $1.2 million.