County readies pact for Miami-Miami Beach monorail
Miami-Dade County is finishing pre-development and preparing an agreement for a monorail and rapid mass transit line that would cross the MacArthur Causeway, connecting Downtown Miami to Miami Beach.
The Department of Transportation and Public Works is working with MBM Partners LLC in an interim agreement to finish pre-development work and prepare the final project agreement for approval by county commissioners, said Luis Espinoza, Department of Transportation and Public Works communications and special projects administrator.
The department anticipates having a project agreement ready for commission review next spring, he said. No price tag has been unveiled.
An interim agreement that the county executed Oct. 31, 2020, which commissioners approved, has an 18-month schedule to do pre-development work and negotiate an agreement to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a monorail connecting downtown Miami and Miami Beach for the segment of the county’s Smart transportation plan called the Beach Corridor Causeway Extension Trunkline. A final plan and budget would have to go before the commission again.
The expected completion of a 3.45-mile monorail is 2026, the department says. Two trains would run constantly at 12 trips per hour, each with a 300-rider capacity, according to the Miami Beach Monorail Consortium, whose main investor is Meridian.
The Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (Smart) Plan intends to advance six rapid transit corridors.
In parallel to the ongoing work for the Beach Corridor Causeway Extension, the Beach Corridor Project Development and Environment study is underway for all three segments of the corridor. They are the Miami Corridor Extension, which is to run along North Miami Avenue from Northeast 15th to Northwest 41st streets; the Beach Corridor Causeway Extension (Trunkline) from Herald Plaza in the Omni area to Miami Beach along the MacArthur Causeway; and the Miami Beach Convention Center Connection, which would run along Washington Avenue from Fifth Street north to the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Also, the project team is working on the National Environmental Policy Act process, which requires the government to consider how a project will affect the environment and its local communities, including public outreach and obtaining permits for the adopted locally preferred alternative for the Beach Corridor. The Department of Transportation and Public Works anticipates having these elements completed by this fall, Mr. Espinoza said.
Genting Group successfully bid to undertake the $14 million first phase of design and development of the Beach Corridor. Along with its consortium of developers, the casino giant was approved by Miami-Dade County in March to work on feasibility studies for the monorail project that would connect its Resorts World Miami location at the sites of the former Miami Herald building and Genting-owned Omni Mall to Miami Beach.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
“Mobility is something that is extremely important for any community,” said Miami Beach Public Works director Jose Gomez. “We’re growing more and more every year and we have to be able to move people and facilitate them going from point to point. So, anytime we can do that means the good for the city.”