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Front Page » Transportation » South Dade bus rapid transit finally hits the runway

South Dade bus rapid transit finally hits the runway

Written by on July 14, 2020
South Dade bus rapid transit finally hits the runway

The money is in. A developer is on deck. Two years after decision-makers voted to upgrade Miami-Dade’s longest commuting route with “Gold Standard” bus rapid transit (BRT), it’s close to rolling ahead.

Commissioners Sept. 1 are to finally green light a $300 million overhaul of the 20-mile, two-lane busway linking Kendall and Florida City. It’s the first of six high-traffic routes targeted for new transit in a countywide Smart Plan leaders adopted in 2016.

Funds are in place. Just one piece awaits approval. Commissioners in May accepted $100 million from the state, a match to equal local funds set aside for the route. The US Department of Transportation has committed the last $100 million, which commissioners still must OK.

They also must approve a deal with OHL USA, a subsidiary of Spanish construction and engineering firm OHL, which outlasted two other bidders for the contract.

In addition to the $300 million BRT project – which includes 14 climate-controlled stations with prepaid fares and level boarding similar to rail, as well as traffic signal preemption and crossing arms at 45 intersections – OHL’s contract includes four projects connected to the corridor at a total $68.2 million.

Transportation Director Alice Bravo said the county still plans a new fleet of electric buses for the corridor. A construction, engineering and inspection contract is also due.

“The procurement is complete,” she said, adding that a contract is likely to also face commission approval in September.

Dennis Moss, commissioner for much of South Dade, said that while BRT isn’t his and others’ first choice – Metrorail is – “half a loaf [of bread] is better than no loaf at all.”

Ms. Bravo confirmed project designs allow the corridor to be converted to at-grade rail if the BRT reaches 35,000 daily riders: “Everything we’re doing takes that into account.”

2 Responses to South Dade bus rapid transit finally hits the runway

  1. William P Martin

    July 15, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    It’s just a glorify bus route. Even though Metrorail is more expensive, it should have been selected for this segment.

  2. Keith Buchanan

    July 16, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    It saddens me that the City will spend $155 Million for the Underline and $802 Million for the Signature Bridge, but complain Metro Rail is “too expensive”.

    There’s a cost to be paid by not putting in Metrorail. The people spending an hour each day waiting for a connection are paying that cost and will continue to pay that cost even after the BRT opens. They pay in lost productivity, loss of free time and frustration.

    Join us Citizens of Miami for Metrorail