Miami — More Planning Progress
The Miami Herald reports that the "Bay Link" light rail proposal to link Miami and Miami Beach has taken a step forward. The line would replicate a street railway line that crossed the water over the MacArthur Causeway until bus replacement in 1939.
The often-discussed streetcar line between Miami and Miami Beach advanced on February 4 when a meeting of local officials voted to pursue the project along two parallel paths.
This is a significant step beyond the discussion phase.
Miami Beach has been planning its own section of the streetcar system after receiving an unsolicited proposal from French streetcar company Alstom some months ago. Work is moving forward on an environmental analysis while asking other firms to respond to the Alstom proposal.
Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami are also undertaking environmental analysis of their part of the route, following the more lengthy federal requirements so othat the analysis could be used as part of an application for FTA funding.
The environmental study being done by Miami Beach could be useful for state funding but might be inadequate for federal funds. However, by linking the project with Miami's, there may be a way for the Beach to avoid the more lengthy federal process.
Cost for the combined projects is estimate to be $532 million, with the Beach’s component alone costing $148 million.