The Real Deal Miami

Consulting firm signals warning about Bay Link plan

AECOM calls public-private funding into question
July 09, 2014 05:15PM


Consulting firm AECOM cautioned county commissioners about a potential Bay Link plan.

Miami-Dade commissioners are putting their money on a mix of public and private capital to fund the potential revival of Bay Link, a passenger rail service that would connect Miami and Miami Beach. 

It’s unclear, however, if all the expected funds can actually be raised.

A team of consultants from AECOM cited a litany of concerns about the rail link at the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s executive committee meeting on Wednesday. Though they agreed the line is feasible, the consulting firm warned the county about possible problems regarding funding sources.

For one, Bay Link would fare worse in funding itself than other public transit systems around the county, which only cover about 39 percent of their costs. It would be unlikely for the project to receive any federal dollars due to “intense competition,” the firm said.

South Florida governments would then need to fork over $70 million annually for capital and operating expenses. The potential for private funding is so dismal that, according to the Miami Herald, one of the consultants suggested commissioners administer a toll of $1 to $2 on every vehicle that crosses MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways.

Miami-Dade County first proposed a possible Miami-to-Miami Beach passenger rail service back in the ’90s. The idea was put to bed in 2004 due to an acute cash shortage. [Miami Herald–Kerry Barger