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Front Page » Top Stories » Transit Alliance Miami wants to audit county’s Smart Plan

Transit Alliance Miami wants to audit county’s Smart Plan

Written by on January 21, 2020
  • www.miamitodayepaper.com
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Transit Alliance Miami wants to audit county’s Smart Plan

With a final vote on Transit Alliance Miami’s redesign of the Metrobus network expected by June, the nonprofit has set its sights on auditing the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (Smart) Plan.

Miami-Dade adopted the Smart Plan in 2016 to advance six commuting corridors, select transit modes and seek matching state and federal funds to install them.

They sold it as way to keep a promise made when voters in 2002 OK’d a half-penny tax to expand transit countywide. In 2009, the county diverted the tax amid the Great Recession to maintain the existing system.

County decision-makers have so far selected modes for just half the Smart corridors. Only one has attracted outside funds.

That deficit, said Transit Alliance Director Azhar Chougle, shows a lack of faith in the plan that needs addressing.

“Staff and commissioners won’t admit it in public, but there’s very little confidence in the Smart Plan,” he said. “What was promised to voters in 2002 was unrealistic, and what is being promised again is the same plan with the same disregard for the realities of current land use, available funding and what makes effective transit. Our first step is to take a deeper look at how this process is being run and what the numbers add up to so far.”

Another initiative the group is launching should inform that effort: a probe of how transit would operate if, like other metropolises, it was run by a transportation authority staffed and run by experts.

Transit here now is part of a strong mayor county administration. It operates at the direction of the mayor and 13 commissioners, who make up more than half of the county transportation planning board.

The mayor and commissioners also appoint all but one of the 15 citizens who oversee the use of half-penny funds.

“Transportation authorities are depoliticized,” Mr. Chougle said. “What is in place now is not normal.” 

6 Responses to Transit Alliance Miami wants to audit county’s Smart Plan

  1. Fernando Cabrera

    January 22, 2020 at 10:52 am

    If what was “promised in 2002 was unrealistic” then how about you give us back our 1/2 cent? Instead, the county will continue to tax Miami-Dade residents and not deliver on our needs. I would rather given the 1/2 cent money to a private transportation company that would actually go out and put together a solution to what has recently been described as the worst commute in the nation.

  2. Geo

    January 22, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Transportation in the county and a lot of the country is seen as a public welfare instead of a public good. Until that extremely important distinction is realized, we will continue to be suffocated by traffic congestion

  3. Karen Lawrence

    January 22, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    we have sprawl and bad giving to builders variances when where they want to build doesn’t have water or sewer or anyway to get out of their own development but the developers keep asking and we ok it anyway. Why?

    Our commission has changed the zoning on so many parcels because of the transportation corridor but no services or restaurants in sight just large residential buildings. Where are the grocery stores. Now every exit on the metrorail has construction like the trolley can’t get to the Douglas station. What’s going to happen when we have to make us1 wider. We should ask these builders to donte Kane etydayfor the roads because of all the traffic.
    Remember 6 months of rain every day 95degrees

  4. Django

    January 23, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    That’s the problem, you have politicians running public transit. Not mention Mrs. Bravo who doesn’t have any experience at being a transit director and is basically learning on the job. She doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on.

  5. Gerwyn Flax

    January 23, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Miami residents should organize and file a class action suit against the government, who tricked them into paying the 1/2 penny tax for almost twenty years. They should be sued for misappropriating the proceeds and providing nothing in terms of new transportation modes.

  6. Alex Adams

    January 25, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    The “Smart Plan” is flawed from success. We need a lot of money to build a true transit system in Miami-Dade. The county had the opportunity to force FEC to allow full Tri-Rail service along the coastal route and decided instead to subsidize Virgin Train’s station in Aventura. The current proposal for the beach corridor, is a give away for Genting Casinos, by placing a stop at their property vs downtown. We can not build an interconnected system of transit, if we do not begin with making good policy decisions.

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