Tri-Rail is working on a major project: bringing its commuter trains to downtown Miami on brand new railways.
The service would connect its lines to a stretch of track that will be used by the Florida East Coast Railway — the same line All Aboard Florida’s upcoming Miami to Orlando service will use, a publication reported.
Tri-Rail is looking for $69 million in funding from city and county governments within the next eight weeks. The connection has to be built while All Aboard Florida’s track is still under construction, the Miami Herald reported.
The track will connect the upcoming All Aboard Florida station at the Metromover Government Center hub with an existing FEC line to the north. That line runs east of I-95 along the eastern shore through downtown Miami. Construction begins soon, leaving Tri-Rail a tight window of opportunity.
Tri-Rail runs its 50 weekday trains between Palm Beach County and Hialeah Market/Miami Airport Station in Miami-Dade County. If the plan goes through, half of the trains will be assigned to the downtown Miami route in late 2016 or early 2017, the newspaper reported.
Jack Stevens, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, told the newspaper that this is a one-time opportunity. If missed, Tri-Rail may never be able to run its trains downtown.
The Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to put $21 million into the project, leaving $48 million for other agencies to cover, the Herald reported.
Alice Bravo, Miami’s deputy city manager, told the newspaper that the city and county are discussing Tri-Rails request for funding. The two would pay a percentage, along with Miami’s Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency. [Miami Herald] — Sean Stewart-Muniz