Monday, September 19, 2016

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez is Thinking Straight on Transit. By Geniusofdespair

We voted for it, and then the county wasted the 2002 transit tax on traffic circles and  other dumb stuff by giving a big chunk of it to municipalities. In order to get cities on board, the county gave the cities a pot of gold from the money:

Part of the original rules for the transit tax call for a large chunk of the money to get transferred to cities and towns for their own transit needs. This year (2015), municipalities are set to receive just under 20 percent of the money, according to budget projections. That amounts to a $51 million transfer from the county to cities. (There was $272 Million).
This is stupid because the money has been going for road projects, curbs and other NON-TRANSIT costs. Finally, with traffic so bad, you can't even move on 95 at 2pm, someone is proposing doing something mass transit with the money: Xavier Suarez.

I think we are all confused on what we actually voted for, but none of what we thought we voted for ever happened. They did put together a watchdog group over the money: The Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust. They need a new Executive Director badly. It has been run poorly for so long in a log-jam, but the Chairman, Paul Schwiep has been very good and proactive. He is aware of the County's sleigh of hands, trying not to restore $40 million from the CITT budget.

Paul Schwiep said:
“Thanks to property value increases and substantial new development, funds are available in the current year’s budget cycle to restore as much as $40 million to the Transportation Trust.”
Why is the County Mayor Gimenez trying to steal that money from Transit Projects in his budget? "Don't steal our County Transit Dough Bro!"

Commissioner Suarez said today in the Miami Herald:
In the past 12 months, the Miami-Dade County Commission has achieved consensus on the SMART plan — six new rail corridors that are absolutely vital to our economic survival.

The Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit plan includes: an east-west connector along Kendall Drive; an east-west connector from downtown to 137th Ave.; a “Baylink” linking downtown to the Miami Beach Convention Center; a north corridor completing the existing MetroRail along Northwest 27th Avenue all the way to Hard Rock Stadium; a commuter train along the FEC tracks; and the “South Dade TransitWay” connecting Dadeland to Florida City.

Initially, the discussion was whether one of these should get priority over the others. Ultimately — after several, sometimes contentious, hearings — we have concluded that no one corridor can be left behind.

In the meantime, the issue of funding has been lurking in the background, causing residents to wonder whether we are overexaggerating the viability of a plan that some doubt will really happen in one generation.

It is important to note that three of the corridors already have components in progress (the Miami Beach segment of Baylink, the Brightline track that would be used by the northeast commuter train, and a trolley loop that connects Brickell to Southwest 37th Avenue, serving as the eastern-most component of the east-west connector). Therefore, what needs to be identified is immediate funding of the South Dade TransitWay and the North corridor.

At the first budget hearing, I proposed that the South Dade TransitWay and the North corridor be funded during the current fiscal year’s (2016-17) budget-approval process. These transit lines will serve two of the most deserving communities in the county. That funding can be put in place immediately. For both of these lines, there are no land acquisition issues; the county would build the tracks and provide the equipment; and the cities or the major businesses along each route would fund the construction of the stations.
Come on, I am so sick of these projects being put aside even when there are matching State funds promised in the amount of $40 Million. Why are we not pursuing Federal transit dollars? I guess Miami Dade County will be underwater by the time it gets any more rail.


Anonymous said...

Your county and cities are using inflated property tax numbers. Fraud in itself, but a bad valuation is not a punishable crime other than a fine and a lower bond rating. Miami Beach and any rail car service needs a service yard. Without this yard to service and store rail cars you are involved in another fraud (bid fraud). Miami Beach officials have never located a place to store and service their trains. The city cannot ask for federal money because of their shady past and current future. The one bid contractor on the beach know his rails and trains will have to be stored somewhere on the mainland in an elevated yard miles away. Guarantees billions in future work. All forced on everybody by Miami Beach officials.

Anonymous said...

West Kendal commute to Miami has already slowed by 15 minutes since last school year imposing tremendous economic loss on the tax payer. Tolls are economically not viable, $5 daily toll back and forth, that is two gallons of gas, more or less 50 miles. More are choosing to bypass tolls, streets are getting clogged, people are speeding and using smart phones, accidents are increasing. Public rail transportation now.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want and many here like to attack him, but its Vice Chairman Bovo that has led the charge on Transportation. He has not only pushed along with Commissioner Sosa to restore PTP money for its intended purpose, he has explored ways to have tourist contribute to our infrastructure needs. The Vice Chairman has also introduced legislation to crete TIFFS to help pay for development and maintenance of new corridors. Suarez has good ideas, but he is not the only one.....but since Bovo is not one of your "chosen" commissioners, this space is reserved to calling him "ethically challenged", or "corrupt" or "in the mayor's pocket".