This post was produced by Open Media Miami, an independent company that works in partnership with Beached Miami to cover neighborhood news along the Biscayne Corridor.
With two government transportation agencies pushing hard for an expansion of passenger rail in South Florida, a new commuter train may soon be chugging through downtown Miami.
As reported by El Nuevo Herald, the Florida Department of Transportation recently proposed a short-term plan to start a passenger route from downtown to Fort Lauderdale using the Florida East Coast Railway, which runs parallel to U.S. 1 (Biscayne Boulevard/Brickell Avenue) in Miami-Dade County and is currently being revamped to transport cargo. The FDOT plan calls for six stations along the route and would cost around $300 million.
The department’s long-term goal is a regional route from Miami to Jupiter, which in total could cost $1 billion, FDOT’s mobility development manager Amie Goddeau said during a town hall meeting on Oct. 18.
At the same time, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), the agency that manages Tri-Rail, is pushing its own proposal for an expansion of the FEC railway. The Transportation Authority says its plan to connect Miami to Jupiter via passenger rail would cost $270 million — $730 million less than FDOT’s — and take between three and five years to complete.
“We believe this new [plan] is superior to FDOT’s approach, as it can be implemented quickly … provides better regional service coverage, and will not require any additional county or FDOT operating funds,” SFRTA transportation planning manager Joe Quinty told Transit Miami.