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Heritage Trolley Site
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Miami - July 2014

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Miami — Downtown Plans Revived

July 2014

While local government officials are continuing their discussions about light rail to link Miami and Miami Beach, there also is talk about reviving a plan to build a streetcar system in Miami from downtown to the Design District possibly using a public-private partnership [P3] construction and financing concept, the Daily Business Review reports. Miami had first generation electric traction until after World War II.

The financial downturn killed the earlier efforts to promote a downtown streetcar as a "shovel ready" project. But now revived plans for a streetcar connecting downtown with the Design District may be offered to the public by September. Introducing the concept of a P3 project rather than a primarily federally-funded project has boosted the prospects. Also contributing to the financing could be a special taxing district along the route so that property owners benefitting from the streetcar would contribute to its cost.

Specific routing proposals and cost estimates are not yet available.

The P3 concept calls for the successful private bidder to design, build and finance the streetcar line, then to be repaid according by some formula linked to streetcar revenue. Instead of construction costs being paid as the line is built, under the P3 the private firm is paid once the line is complete. Given low interest rates on many traditional investments, today potential investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, and other private investors are looking for the returns in the range of 8 to 12 percent which P3 projects can offer.


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