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Front Page » Transportation » CSX Corp. won’t fill Miami’s passenger rail gap

CSX Corp. won’t fill Miami’s passenger rail gap

Written by on May 31, 2016
CSX Corp. won’t fill Miami’s passenger rail gap

The county has hit a wall in talks with rail company CSX Corp. about buying its freight tracks for an 11-mile east-west commuter line, says Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr., so it’s not a viable way to relieve traffic congestion.

At one time there seemed every reason to look into CSX’s underused freight lines as an alternative to Metrorail-driven mass transit given the prohibitive costs, Mr. Bovo said during a Sunshine meeting Tuesday.

However, it’s a little more complicated when working with a partner that wants the county to look at more assets than it needs, said Mr. Bovo, who heads the county’s Transportation & Mobility Committee. He spearheaded a plan to have the state pay for CSX freight lines and then transfer them to the county for transit use, filling two huge gaps in a rail transit system that lacks an east-west line. The proposed commuter rail, with new stations, would run as far west as Northwest 137th Avenue, beginning at the Miami Intermodal Center next to Miami International Airport and running along the Dolphin Expressway.

CSX owns almost 50 miles of freight rail in the county, said Mr. Bovo. “They seem favorable to selling the 11 miles but would want us to come back and buy the whole thing,” he said Tuesday. “It’s an ‘all or nothing’ situation, and we’re not interested in ‘all or nothing’.”

More feasible, Mr. Bovo said, is a plan Transit and Public Works Director Alice Bravo  is working on with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) whereby a route from the airport might run light rail all the way to the Palmetto Expressway.

In 1998, the county submitted to the Federal Department of Transportation a plan that was approved but never implemented to extend Metrorail along a shoulder of 836 donated by MDX.

9 Responses to CSX Corp. won’t fill Miami’s passenger rail gap

  1. Roy

    May 31, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    So why was the 1998 federal transportation plan that was approved for Metro-rail NOT implemented ?

  2. DC Copeland

    June 1, 2016 at 6:51 am

    Surprised the county didn’t bite on the CSX offer since buying all of the line– which already stretches to the Netherlands of this far-flung county– would probably be much less expensive than building a MetroRail line from scratch– and quicker to get it up and running. The “more feasible” plan B solution of running light rail along the airport to the Palmetto won’t help much. Just to get to that line will be a pain in the butt since you’ll have to take the Palmetto or Turnpike. If you’ve driven that far, why not just go all the way? Plus, by the time you park your car at the “Palmetto Station,” board the train to the Intermodal Center, you could have made the crawl along 395 to your destination downtown. The best solution was the first. Go back and try to work something out with CSX and the state. Get creative, maybe CSX is open to land swaps, or doing a PPP.

  3. jorge j tamargo

    June 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    DC Copeland I believe hit the nail on the head buy buying peace meal would only be more costly in the future since land in dade is not getting any cheaper. any what we can not use for transportation we can ether make trails for hiking and biking or just sell.

  4. Bob Wallace

    June 4, 2016 at 12:25 am

    The ex Seaboard line from the Intermodal Center down to Homestead would be a no brainer for a commuter run. The areas are mostly built up now and would provide an easier way to get to the airport and downtown than the present slow morning slog on the Turnpike extension and the Don Shula.

  5. B

    June 9, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Well the other rail lines wouldn’t necessarily help Bovo’s district, but could benefit people in other parts of the County. A crying shame to see yet another relatively short term improvement to our transit situation first delayed and now, apparently, scrapped.

  6. Paul Harrison

    June 13, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Just to be clear, any sale by CSX of the entire system in Miami-Dade would have included the requirement that the entire line still be available for freight, so the idea that the city would have been able to buy the line and then close the bit it doesn’t want to use for passenger service would have been a no-go.

    I wonder if a shortline operator would have been willing to partner with Miami to buy the entire stretch?

  7. jorge j tamargo

    June 13, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    paul you should of been at the table with Esteban Bovo Jr when he was dealing and wheeling with csx since i do believe what you are saying does make sence, and maybe it would of made cents to csx and a shotline.

  8. Paul A. Eisenhart

    July 6, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Buying ALL of the CSX line is the way to go, including letting CSX continue to use it. It can go to FIU ,Dolphin Mall, and all the way to Florida City, with commuter stops along the way. Please go back to CSX and work out an arrangement with it. Imagine it up and running within 4 years – if were the County’s TOP priority, although possibly not fully built out. Using Federal and State funds along with local bonds, currently having a historically low interest rate, should be able to fund it. If we can do the tunnel to PortMiami and the Marlins Stadium, we must be able to do this! Stop wasting the extra half cent sales tax on buses! This is a long term investment in our future. Let’s Get Moving and stop sitting in traffic! Thanks!

  9. WPearce

    August 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    DC Copeland is right. Buy the tracks from CSX for an East West connection. Then why not use the terminus as a connection to build future tracks to SW Florida along I75.