Miami to vet cost of Tri-Rail link downtown
City officials plan to re-evaluate the price tag to expand Tri-Rail to downtown Miami, Mayor Tomás Regalado said.
The $69 million cost was estimated in talks among the South Florida Regional Transportation Agency, Tri-Rail’s operator; All Aboard Florida; the company that owns All Aboard’s rail corridor; and the Florida Department of Transportation.
“That number has never been vetted by the City of Miami,” Mr. Regalado said.
City officials are studying options to close the funding gap. As part of that study, they’re to re-examine the total cost.
“We did that with the Marlins stadium parking lots. The original quote was for $92 million, and we were able to bring it down to $75 million,” he said.
The city has already committed $5.5 million from its share of a half-cent sales surtax meant for transportation projects. Miami-Dade County has committed about $13.8 million, and Tri-Rail has said it would fund $3.1 million and that the state has pledged $17.1 million.
Tri-Rail officials have turned to two of Miami’s community redevelopment agencies (CRAs) to finance the rest.
One agency’s chairman, Keon Hardemon, also a city commissioner, said he will push to decrease to $17 million the $24 million being sought from the Southeast Overtown/Park West agency.
The push to expand Tri-Rail downtown is part of a larger aim to run Tri-Rail on the east side of the county on All Aboard’s tracks and to stop in cities in Northeast Miami-Dade. Because some of these cities might get a Tri-Rail stop, Mr. Regalado said he plans to ask them to help fund Tri-Rail’s expansion to downtown Miami.
“A letter has been drafted to that effect,” he said. “We might not even get a response…. We’re just exploring.”