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Front Page » Transportation » Transportation trust rolling out

Transportation trust rolling out

Written by on June 2, 2015
Transportation trust rolling out

Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez has put some detail on his plan to create a revenue-generating transportation trust to help meet the city’s long-term transit needs.

Mr. Suarez explained the basic framework of the proposed trust at last week’s commission meeting.

The transportation trust would be created by ordinance, in line with the city’s financial integrity principals, and would operate and maintain existing transportation and match federal, state or county capital funding for transportation growth.

One of the city’s main transportation resources currently is its popular free trolley system. The rubber-tired trolleys run on multiple routes throughout the city. Commissioners have begun considering ways to maintain the trolley service as the fleet ages.

As he has stressed in recent meetings, Mr. Suarez said it’s crucial that community leaders act now to alleviate traffic congestion and plan for future transit needs.

A key part of the proposed trust would be to set aside cash to have it on hand when county, state and federal governments dole out funds for projects requiring matching local funds, according to Mr. Suarez.

If the city can set aside money for local match projects and get some of those projects in “the pipeline” and ready to go when the state or federal officials are ready to fund projects, “we say ‘we’re here with a check,’ – it may help us jump to the beginning of the line,” Mr. Suarez said.

Federal and state transportation grants have been used for a variety of transportation-related projects, from building new roads to helping pay to run the trolleys.

Mr. Suarez said he’ll be presenting a substantive proposed ordinance to create the trust soon.

In a related move, city commissioners urged Miami-Dade commissioners to adopt a resolution authorizing and approving the establishment, solicitation and awarding of public waterborne transportation at specified locations within the city, along the Miami River and Biscayne Bay.

“I think everyone is in agreement that as a county and a city we need to increase connectivity through a variety of different means, and this is a way to do it immediately without the city having to spend any significant amount of money, or any money at all,” Mr. Suarez told fellow commissioners.

The action follows a similar move in January when city commissioners adopted a resolution urging the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to conduct a feasibility study of the use of waterways for transportation of persons throughout the county and review the legislation needed to implement those uses.

“It is my understanding that this is just the beginning – asking the Miami-Dade County Commission to pass a resolution approving this – but at the same time, I think the MPO should start working on a comprehensive water transportation plan, where they use ferries from one side of the city to the other side of the city,” said Commission Chair Wifredo “Willy” Gort.

“I think that’s very important,” Mr. Gort said. “That should be part of the transportation system … it needs to be put together.”

2 Responses to Transportation trust rolling out

  1. B

    June 3, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Bike sharing is already in the City. The City can cheaply and quickly increase usage by putting in more bike lanes, especially across the River, and by working with Citibike to get more stations that integrate better with the Metrorail and Metromover systems. In other words, treat bike sharing as another form of public transportation, not just a nice thing to have for the tourists.

  2. DC Copeland

    June 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Waterborne public transportation will have little effect on our traffic woes because it will only be useful to people living near the water without cars unless parking spaces are included at the pick-up and drop-off sites which isn’t realistic to expect since that would mean limiting the pick-up and drop off sites to those that already exist which are probably less than a handful. Furthermore, no one wants to see new parking lots and garages built on or near the waterfront to make marine transit work. However, for the few who actually live downtown and need to get to work on Miami Beach (and vice versa), why not allow boat owners the option to act as Uber or Lyft-style mariners? Once they can show they and their boats are Coast Guard approved, stand back and let free enterprise take over with entrepreneurial weekend-only boaters now using their boats full-time or part-time to make a living or some extra bucks. Need a ride from downtown Miami to SoBe? Walk down to the “Riverwalk,” flag down a “Boataxi” (or expect to get solicited by the “captain” calling across the water to you), hop in (you know the fare since its required to be posted so its legible from 10′), and enjoy your break-neck boat ride down Government Cut past the cruise ships, a slamming hard port-side turn under the 5th Street bridge, with a hard bank to starboard to the Maurice Gibb Memorial Park boat launch where you can hop off, walk a couple of blocks and catch the free shuttle running up and down Miami Beach. Unfortunately, to make this work for the “captain” it won’t be cheap for the passenger– but it would be fun and memorable– especially if the boataxi driver drives like his landlocked brothers.