Miami Beach Light Rail Project Study Phase Approved

Miami Beach Light Rail Project Study Phase Approved :The City of Miami Beach appears to have fast-tracked the long-debated light rail project, after years of talk. The proposed light rail would operate throughout Miami Beach and connect Miami Beach to Downtown Miami via the MacArthur Causeway.

Previously known as the ‘Baylink’, the project was first proposed in 1988 and presented again in 2002.
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City of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wrote the following on Facebook last week: “The City of Miami Beach Commissioners and I authorized the City to proceed without hesitation to immediately take steps towards bringing a light rail/wireless streetcar system to operate within our City to reduce congestion. This system is expected to eventually connect to the City of Miami, offering viable transportation options for everyone that lives, visits or does business here.”

The City Commission passed a resolution last week that authorizes Philip Levine and City Manager Jimmy Morales to immediately begin discussions with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, and the Florida Department of Transportation about what the ‘Beach Corridor Transit Connection Project.’ The Commission also authorized a contribution of $417,000 to the study phase.

According to Mr. Levine “the initial phase of the project will consist of a 2-way connection on 5th Street and Washington Avenue, and is referred to as the ‘South Beach Component.’ The second phase is expected to take place along Alton Road and 17th Street, complementing the cross-bay route to Downtown Miami. Future contemplated phases are expected to include a route along the Julia Tuttle Causeway connecting Miami Beach with Midtown Miami and eventually the airport.

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales stated in October 2013 that “in case there is anyone who has any doubts, Miami Beach is very committed to this project.” City of Miami Assistant City Manager and Chief of Infrastructure Alice Bravo stated at the time: “We’re 10 years behind the gun on this one… We have to be successful or basically we’re tying our hands for the future.” District Six Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, Gustavo ‘Gus’ Felix Pego, stated: “Let’s get it done.”

A consortium called Greater Miami Tramlink Partners submitted an Alstom proposal on 19 June 2015, aimed at creating a $148 million light rail system for Miami Beach that would run on Washington Avenue between Fifth Street and the Convention Center. The proposal was designed to connect the mainland with South Beach across the MacArthur Causeway.

According to the Miami Herald the submission followed years of lobbying by Alstom at the city and county level, including meetings with both Philip Levine and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez at rail facilities in France.

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Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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