Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Transportation Planning for south Florida's long-term future

Miami-Dade County pledges almost $14 million dollars in committee recommendation to the County Commission. This would make possible the co-sharing of a station with the future Coastal Link proposed by Tri-Rail that would eventually run on the Florida East Coast (FEC) tracks. Those same tracks will have commuter trains running up and down the three county, or more, south Florida region. A stop for this local service will eventually find a home in Lake Worth. This is an early step in the right direction. From the Miami Herald article, here's why:
     But backers see two big advantages to bringing Tri-Rail downtown.      First, eliminating the need to transfer trains should make the rail option much more palatable to people who otherwise would be driving back and forth to downtown. “Whenever you put a transfer in, you put in a barrier and people say it’s not worth it,” Stephens said.
     Second, by taking advantage of All Aboard’s new station and rail tracks, Tri-Rail can plant itself downtown at a fraction of the cost it would face if it had to acquire real estate itself. That gives Tri-Rail a chance at a far more ambitious plan down the road: using FECI track again to create a new commuter line closer to the coast, able to serve popular Miami-Dade stops like Aventura.
     Tri-Rail, which is funded by Florida and the three counties that it services, does not have the money to launch the coastal link. But backers see the Miami station as at least preserving the option should funding surface for a coastal line.
     “This is one piece in the puzzle,” County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said Wednesday. “This definitely sets us up for the future.”