Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell announced the release of $100 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) dollars for construction of the 20-mile BRT South Corridor Rapid Transit project from Dadeland South to 344th Street in Florida City.
Mucarsel-Powell, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, “I’m proud of advocating for this much-needed $100 million
capital investment grant for Miami-Dade’s transportation system. Hard-working Miamians are tired of being stuck in traffic for hours on end, and this project is a first step to alleviating that problem.”
The money was part of FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program called Small Starts. The County submitted its application to Small Starts August 23, 2019 for the South Corridor project, requesting $99,999,999.
The money seemed assured when applicant projects were graded in February and the South Corridor received a very high score for funding.
The South Corridor is one of six transit corridors considered by the area’s SMART Plan (Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit).
Project monies would pay for twelve all-weather stations with at-level boarding platforms, terminal upgrades at Dadeland and Florida City, ticket
vending machines, crossing gates, and traffic preemption signals at all 45 intersections. The system is expected to carry 20,600 daily trips by 2040 operating every 7.5 minutes during weekday peak periods and every thirty minutes on weekends.
The U.S. Department of Transportation listed twelve approved transit projects in its June 2 announcement with qualified funding of more than $891 million.
Included in the project list was $300 million for Los Angeles’ 2.6 mile heavy rail extension, $200 million for Phoenix’s 5.5 mile rail extension with nine stations, and $100 million for Portland, Oregon’s 7.8 mile light rail extension. The other projects listed were all BRT lines covered by both 2019 and 2020 CIG funds, including Miami-Dade’s project.
In August 2018, Miami-Dade County’s Transportation Planning Council committed $100 million to the South Corridor project expected to cost about $300 million to build and $39.3 million a year to operate.
This 2018 funding was committed before the decision was made between bus rapid transit or rail at-grade. The County said the money was advanced for necessary infrastructure components regardless of which system was chosen. The funds were drawn from the County’s half-penny transportation surtax.
A metrorail system at-grade for this corridor was estimated to cost $1.3 billion to build and $67 million a year to operate.
The final $100 million needed to complete the BRT South Corridor is planned to come from the Florida Department of Transportation’s New Starts program.