Miami ready to move ahead on Miami Beach transit connector
Written by John Charles Robbins on April 10, 2019
Miami city commissioners are ready to move ahead on a long-awaited beach corridor transit plan connecting with Miami Beach.
A proposal to establish a partnership among the city, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach to improve regional mobility between the city’s urban core and Miami Beach via the MacArthur Causeway is on today’s (4/11) commission agenda.
On July 20, 2016, the three local governments and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) executed a memorandum of understanding for continuing efforts to improve regional mobility between the City of Miami and Miami Beach.
The proposed resolution calls for the three governments to enter into a multi-agency partnership to advance efforts in connection with the county’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan, adopted by the county commission, which identifies the Beach Corridor Direct Connection Project as one of six rapid transit priority corridors, for the completion of environmental, planning and engineering studies.
The partnership would be created through approval of an interlocal agreement, which would then implement terms of the 2016 agreement.
The SMART Plan prioritizes light rail or premium transit technology along six priority corridors, and a bus express rapid transit network.
The Miami City Commission endorsed the SMART Plan in 2017.
Today’s resolution begins: “… the Parties wish to continue the efforts already underway to improve regional mobility within the geographic limits of the Project, which include the City and Miami Beach, and are defined by the Federal New Starts Study Project … from 5 Street at Alton Road in Miami Beach to the Government Center in the City’s Downtown, part of the City’s streetcar alignment from the City’s Downtown to its Midtown, and from 5 Street in Miami Beach to the Miami Beach Convention Center.”
The legislation says the three parties agree to fund the environmental, planning, and engineering studies, having a total estimated cost for the Tier 2 Study of $10 million, with FDOT providing $5 million, the county $3,750,000 in Charter County Transportation Surtax Funds for the project, and the remaining $1,250,000 in three equal amounts of $417,000, subject to budgetary approval.
Guiding the implementation of the overall SMART Plan is the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization, or TPO.
The organization adopted a resolution in 2016 endorsing the SMART Plan and directed the executive director to work with a fiscal priorities committee to determine the costs and potential sources of funding for project development and environment study for the projects.
The plan includes rapid transit corridors and express bus routes to increase connectivity for about 77% of Miami-Dade County residents who travel outside their residential district for employment in other areas of the county.