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Front Page » Transportation » South Dade Transitway developer may be on board this year

South Dade Transitway developer may be on board this year

Written by on April 2, 2019
South Dade Transitway developer may be on board this year

Miami-Dade could pick a firm to develop “gold standard” bus rapid transit on the South Dade Transitway by year’s end, Transportation Director Alice Bravo says.

“That’s our goal,” she told commissioners Daniella Levine Cava, Dennis Moss and Xavier Suarez at a transportation fiscal priorities meeting Monday.

The 20-mile transitway last year became the first of six corridors targeted for upgrades to lock in a preferred rapid transit mode.

Lawmakers, leaders and stakeholders on the county’s transportation board voted 15-7 Aug. 30 for the bus solution championed by many, including Mayor Carlos Giménez, with provisions for future conversion to ground-level rail if use grows.

Ms. Levine Cava and Mr. Moss, whose districts the corridor serves, had demanded a southern rail extension and joined commissioners Audrey Edmonson, Barbara Jordan, Mr. Suarez and others voting no.

The county has committed $100 million in “half-penny” transit taxes to attract state and federal matches for the $291 million project, and in December federal overseers awarded a
$9.5 million BUILD grant for two park-and-ride facilities beside it.

Florida Department of Transportation files show Miami-Dade in October sought $97 million in federal “Small Starts” grants. The project has made it into the program but awaits funding, Ms. Bravo said. However, she said, talks are going “very well.”

“They’ve vetted a lot of our information and are working with us on a lot of parallel tracks.”

Pressed to estimate when the county will request proposals and further funding, she said the county needs a state recommendation.

“We hope to have that in… a month,” she said, after which the county would give developers “at least a couple months” to bid.

Of the five other corridors in the transit expansion plan, only the North Corridor stretching from the northernmost Metrorail station to the Broward County line has a transit mode selected: “elevated fixed guideway transit” with preference for rail, possibly a Metrorail extension.

The county will pick modes for every other corridor this year, Transportation Planning Organization Director Aileen Bouclé said, after which financing and development will be “staggered” over three years.

Though their districts didn’t get the same consideration, Mr. Moss and Ms. Levine Cava joined in unanimously choosing rail for the North Corridor in the Dec. 6 vote.

Mr. Moss this week said Ms. Bravo, Ms. Bouclé and others could expect legislation to ensure the county “creates a seamless opportunity for conversion [to rail on the South Dade Transitway] in the future.”

Ms. Levine Cava said she’d similarly been looking for “ways to create a trigger” for future rail conversion.

Assistant County Attorney Bruce Libhaber said his office is working on an item, which the two commissioners agreed to sponsor and meet again to discuss.

Mr. Moss, whose final term ends in 2020, asked that the South Corridor transit project be given “a sense of urgency – a little heat” to get it close to finished by then.

The bidding process, Ms. Bravo said, will add weight based on how quickly proposers say they can complete the job.

Future conversion to rail, she said, is “definitely something that’s being taken very seriously.”

2 Responses to South Dade Transitway developer may be on board this year

  1. Dawson Allen

    April 3, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    It would seem sensible to build much more multifamily housing near the South Dade busway even prior to the full BRT development. More frequent 31 and 38 buses and more right-of-way favoritism could absorb significant additional demand from new residents. This seems like an appropriate place for affordable housing, as families with lower incomes are likelier to use public mass transit than higher-income counterparts.

  2. Jerry Johnson

    April 5, 2019 at 12:01 am

    The Village of Palmetto Bay is already a quagmire of clogged traffic into formerly quiet neighborhoods due to District 8 Commissioner Levine-Cava’s “NO” vote to the County’s T.P.O. Board at a meeting earlier this year. Had the Commissioner voted “YES” to the County’s fully funded request to extend 87th Avenue, the T.P.O Board would have approved the issue (they said so), one crucial bottleneck would have been uncorked, and would have enabled traffic to “flow”, which was the County’s goal. Instead, now many of the Village’s formerly quiet residential streets are inundated daily from folks avoiding the already clogged U.S.1, (which will get even further constipated if hi-rise apartments are built in the County’s unincorporated areas along the busway as the County has stated they will do in order to force a funding vote), and meanwhile the Village has become a laughingstock for the $5.5 million it has spent on speed bumps. If the Commissioner does NOT have the foresight and intellectual capacity to understand something a fifth grader could look at a map and see was absolutely fundamentally necessary, the County has a problem. The Village of Palmetto Bay cannot wait for generations for Commissioner Levine-Cava’s utopian vision to come to fruition. We are being destroyed now, and need traffic relief now, and God knows what will happen should she become Miami-Dade Mayor.