Transportation planners want to spend $81.3 million to create Metromover express service between the current Government Center station and a future Herald Plaza area station.
The money would fund a feasibility evaluation, simulations, design criteria and design-built services to modify the Metromover guideway to bring express runs to the planned station at Biscayne Bay and Northeast 14th Street, which is to be the mainland hub of new rapid transit to Miami Beach as part of the county’s Smart Plan.
County commissioners at the Transportation, Mobility and Planning Committee meeting last week approved the spending as part of the five-year implementation plan of the People’s Transportation Plan.
The five-year plan also added funding for projects of the Smart Plan and new projects such as the Mount Sinai Multimodal Smart Terminal and the Downtown Intermodal Terminal.
The adopted five-year plan is still pending full county commission final approval.
Notable changes to the 2022-2026 plan include a $13 million increase for the Smart Plan East-West Corridor Project Development & Environment (PD&E) study for a total allocation of $25 million, and a $23.8 million increase for the Smart Plan Northeast Corridor Planning and PD&E for a total of $25 million.
The Smart Plan North Corridor Planning and Implementation received $11.1 million, an added $8.8 million; and the Smart Plan Flagler Corridor Planning and Implementation got $287,500, which is a drop of $855,500 as the Federal Transit Administration added to its funding share.
Also, $18.23 million for the Metrorail Tri-Rail Station Traction Power Substation, an increase of $6.23 million; and a $127.7 million Metromover comprehensive wayside overhaul, a $35.6 million increase from the prior five-year plan.
New projects added to the plan are a $225,000 transit oriented development master plan for the Beach Corridor; a $1.7 million Mount Sinai multimodal Smart terminal that would provide parking along the Smart Plan Bus Express Rapid Transit Route F1 – Beach Express North and Route F2 – Beach Express Central.
Additionally, a $35 million downtown intermodal terminal would create enough bus bays for all buses terminating in the Government Center area, customer service and passenger waiting area; $3.3 million to build direct ramps to and from the Dolphin Station from the SR 836 extension; and $13.2 for Vision Zero projects to reduce fatalities and serious injuries related to mobility.
Commissioner Kionne L. McGhee requested at the meeting that the entire plan be adopted, but to separate and vote later on the South Dade Bus Maintenance Facility as the area identified by the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTPW) “is not suitable or conducive for that particular type of construction facility that they’re looking to do.”
Mr. McGhee argued that the preferred location is “in the middle of a single-family community.” As a result, Commissioners Danielle Cohen Higgins and Raquel Regalado proposed an amendment to not specify a location of the facility yet, which was adopted.
DTPW Director Eulois Cleckley noted a risk of increasing costs to the project that the county would have to absorb if commissioners decide they want to find another location. The current cost estimate is $56.2 million, according to the document presented.
“We have evaluated several properties,” Mr. Cleckley said. “Again, this is the preferred site. The rest of the properties have had issues with respect to access or environmental issues or [are] not in a position to be as efficient as possible as compared to the preferred site.”