Miami mayor to fight Tri-Rail’s plan for downtown

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado to veto any funding

Mar.March 19, 2015 04:30 PM

Renderings of the Tri-Rail downtown station

Tri-Rail’s plan to build a station in Downtown Miami could come to a shuddering halt.

The commuter rail service is trying to secure the $69 million in funding it needs for the project, and the Miami-Dade County Commission is set to vote on negotiations for a financing package — but Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado reportedly said he will veto any plans to send Tri-Rail city money for the project, according to the Miami Herald.

The commission is scheduled to vote on March 26 for a financing package proposal with the South Florida Regional Transit Authority, which runs Tri-Rail.

The city manager’s recommendation on how to allocate the funds would then head back to the commission for a vote on April 9, the Miami Herald reported.

Tri-Rail’s downtown station would be built alongside All Aboard Florida’s platforms, which are scheduled to start construction in the next few weeks. If construction begins without Tri-Rail, the service could lose its only opportunity to reach into downtown Miami due to exorbitant land prices.

All Aboard Florida said it would front the $69 million if it feels confident that county and city officials will pay their share — but the mayor’s veto could curtail all efforts to make the plan a reality.

Jack Stephens, executive director of the transit authority, told The Real Deal that the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust has committed roughly $8.3 million to the project, and has asked the same from other agencies in the county.

But with foundation piles already being drilled and the mayor’s campaign, Tri-Rail’s window of opportunity is shrinking fast.

“At the end of the day the funds are going to have to add up to $69 million,” Stephens told TRD.

All Aboard Florida — the upcoming Miami to Orlando rail service — expects its downtown station to open by the end of 2016. [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz

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