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Front Page » Transportation » County again defers rail link to Miami Beach

County again defers rail link to Miami Beach

Written by on April 19, 2016
County again defers rail link to Miami Beach

For the second time, county commissioners Tuesday deferred a vote on an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation and cities of Miami and Miami Beach to develop a mainland rail link to Miami Beach.

Prime sponsor Bruno Barreiro said he doesn’t want to hold up the deal but provided scant information why he requested to defer a vote indefinitely other than that further analysis is probing Miami-Dade’s role and responsibilities.

On Feb. 4, the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Executive Committee, comprised of the mayors of Miami-Dade, Miami and Miami Beach and county commissioners Xavier Suarez and Mr. Barreiro, unanimously agreed to build what was once termed Baylink, a fixed-guideway rail corridor linking downtown Miami near Government Center to the Miami Beach Convention Center via the MacArthur Causeway.

The six-page agreement details the need for a federal environmental study that could take years and cost $10 million. The cities and county agree to each contribute $417,000, the state $5 million and the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust $3.75 million. If it isn’t all spent, funds would be returned proportionally.

Light rail connecting Miami Beach with the mainland could cost more than $532 million.

“The parties wish to continue the efforts already underway to improve regional mobility which has involved local, regional and state stakeholder collaboration and coordination including ongoing efforts to identify optimum multimodal alternatives for a balanced regional transportation system,” the multi-party agreement states. “The development of a multimodal transportation system within the southeast Florida region involves numerous transportation agencies and stakeholders and is a complex undertaking.”

6 Responses to County again defers rail link to Miami Beach

  1. DC Copeland

    April 20, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Light rail at grade is not the answer for Miami Beach. It will only crowd the few narrow traffic lanes there. The answer is to go above the grade and to connect with the elevated Miami Central Station now under construction in downtown Miami. As for the projected costs of $532 million, here’s one solution where the estimated 2007 costs for a Disney-style two track monorail connecting downtown Miami and the Miami Beach Convention Center was $370 million, about $10m/mile (the less than 2-mile PortMiami tunnel was close to a billion dollars). Even at $400 million to $500 million adjusting for inflation, it still beats light rail idea not only on cost but also on best choice metrics: aside from not taking up a lane of traffic (when it breaks down it won’t cause traffic jams either), its above the flood prone grade, and construction would be less disruptive (much of the work is done off-site, ie. the concrete beams are brought in and assembled at night) and much faster to construct since there is much less need to dig up the streets block-by-block to move buried infrastructure– which is necessary carry to the weight of light rail (the Disney-style monorail hangs off the Government Cut side of the MacArthur and runs north and south on beach sand). You can learn more at

  2. James

    April 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    While cities like Denver, LA, Atlanta, etc. forge ahead with innovative financial solutions to auto gridlock with their mass transit endeavors, Miami politicians are stuck in neutral. It is almost criminal that for more than ten years the county has collected a transit tax with no segregated pot for this money for rail expansion using a shell game to pay for underfunded past mistakes. Come on Mr Barreiro, Mr. Suarez, Mr Giminez, raise the gasoline tax at the pump 10 or 20 cents per gallon while prices are low and create a dedicated funding source so that cars and trucks and commerce can move around the county again.

  3. Roy

    April 20, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Extending the Metromover loop from Museum station to the Miami Beach Convention Center is a better idea. It does not have to be elevated along the side of the McArthur causeway and one station can be added midway on the causeway by Childrens Museum and Parrot Jungle. The city of Miami Beach, the city of Miami, the county and the FDOT can combine the funds to help build it.

    The Metronover is already connected to the current mass transit infrastructure,. in my opinion, it would be a better system and probably much cheaper to build.

  4. Adam Fister

    April 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    This will be another mess that taxpayers will have to clean up. Roy, You cant take up lanes on the MacArthur because of current traffic issues. this thing costing 500m is a joke. Mark my words, well past the 2 billion mark if and when completed

  5. John Stevens

    April 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    How ironic that the environmentalists who, on the one hand, want less carbon in the atmosphere and who demand we all get out of our cars, on the other hand demand complex environmental studies that delay mass transit for a decade on. It’s not just government that’s internally conflicted.

  6. John Dorschner

    April 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    MPO is insisting that all six major corridors move ahead at the same time, even though there is no funding (state, fed, local) for any of them at this moment. What does that mean for BayLink? Is it possible some commissioners don’t want to give BayLink a head start toward federal funding? I wrote about this on my MiamiWebNews blog —