Miami — Bay Link OK'd
Rail Transit Online, October 2003
After a contentious political battle and a marathon public hearing on
Sept. 8, the Miami Beach City Commission narrowly voted to allow work on the
Bay Link streetcar project to continue. The $400-million, five-mile (8 km)
rail route, proposed by the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO),
would link Miami and Miami Beach across the MacArthur Causeway with modern
streetcars as part of a program to reduce traffic. The city of Miami has
already gone on record as supporting the scheme. Opponents claimed the line
would be too disruptive during construction, would do little to reduce
congestion and was too expensive. But supporters insist it will provide a
fast and convenient connection between the two cities. “'I think it's going
to ensure that we remain a first class city,” said Commissioner Simon Cruz.
The 4-3 vote came after a seven-hour hearing before more than 200 people on
both sides of the issue. Miami Beach commissioned a study by consultant
Charles Hales of HDR Engineering which found that streetcars would be both
effective and would fit in well with the city’s ambiance (see RTOL, Aug.
2003). The next step for Bay Link is expected to be a detailed engineering
and environmental study sponsored by the MPO.