$1.9 billion Metrorail extension may run to Broward
Eleven months after voting that rapid transit to the Broward County line should use an “elevated fixed guideway,” Miami-Dade’s transportation planning board today (10/31) may choose a $1.9 billion Metrorail extension.
State consultant WSP compared Metrorail with automated people mover, monorail and urban magnetic-levitation trains for the 9.5 miles through Miami Gardens along Northwest 27th Avenue.
WSP recommended Metrorail, which would take eight years to finish there. It’s the second-most costly option behind monorail, which would cost $50 million more.
But there’s no contest in riders. Metrorail would average 16,200 a day, including 7,500 new users, WSP said, while the other modes would serve half that or fewer.
As such, per-passenger costs overwhelmingly favor Metrorail, the only mode that would offer one-seat rides from Brickell to a future Unity Metrorail station at Northwest 215th Street.
Assuming 50% federal and 25% state funding, the county would pay $474.2 million to build the line, plus $49.4 million a year to operate and keep up.
Securing outside funds isn’t guaranteed; however, it’s more likely with Metrorail, as evidenced by two similar Los Angeles projects that recently got federal matches of 44% and 50%, WSP said.
The Northwest 27th Avenue route is called the North Corridor in Miami-Dade’s SMART Plan, which launched in 2016 to select transit for six highly congested corridors.
If North Corridor Metrorail is OK’d by the transportation board – all 13 county commissioners, nine city officials and a school board member – it would mark just the second corridor to get a new transit designation.
The board last year voted 15-7 for a $300 million rapid-transit bus line on the South Dade Corridor’s bus path between Kendall and Florida City, including a last-minute provision for conversion to at-grade Metrorail once daily riders hit 35,000.