Mayor broaches new taxes for Strategic Miami Area Rapid Tran
Mayor Carlos Gimenez has asked Miami-Dade commissioners if they might consider raising countywide millage or assessing another half-percent sales tax to help fund the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan.
In November, commissioners directed the mayor to analyze using tax increment financing (TIF) to help fund the plan and infrastructure near the planned American Dream Miami Mall, the mayor wrote in a March 7 memo.
“TIF financing is one of many possible alternatives that can be used to fund future capital projects as well as operational and maintenance costs of the SMART plan,” Mr. Gimenez wrote.
As discussed at Commission Chair Esteban Bovo Jr.’s Policy Council last week, Miami-Dade is still refining expense assumptions for the SMART plan, the mayor explained. “Preliminary capital cost estimates greatly surpass the estimated net present value of the current 40-year Transit and PTP [People’s Transportation Plan] pro-forma developed for fiscal 2016-17 and the estimated operating cost to implement the new and existing system and maintain it in a state of good repair will create a substantial budgetary gap in the PTP pro-forma.”
The mayor said given that SMART plan needs will probably exceed incremental revenue generated by any TIF district, the county “may want to consider enhancing the revenues available by dedicating a higher mileage rate and/or assessing another half penny for transportation purposes.”
Traditionally, Mr. Gimenez said, governments have used TIF districts to encourage economic development in distressed areas. However, he noted, state statute does allow creation of TIF districts for transportation.
The mayor concluded that TIF districts should be considered as part of a larger approach for revitalizing neighborhoods and attracting development in conjunction with alternative transportation options.