Tri-Rail inches forward after Miami City Commission vote

$69M project still needs $20M from the state

TRD MIAMI /
Jul.July 24, 2015 12:00 PM

Miami’s City Commission late Thursday approved two measures that will authorize funding to link Tri-Rail commuter trains between Miami International Airport and the new privately financed rail hub in downtown Miami.

Commissioners voted to approve more than $8 million in city funds for the project and recommended that an additional $17.5 million be allocated to the project from funds paid to the Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). That funding proposal is expected to finalized next Monday by the CRA.

Tri-Rail still needs to obtain an additional $20 million in funding from the state to complete the $69 million project, which seeks to bring Tri-Rail commuter rail service to a downtown Miami station. All Aboard Florida, which plans rail service between Miami and Orlando, is building the station that will anchor a huge commercial complex.

Tri-Rail is a subsidiary of the publicly funded South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. The organization has received commitments from other local governments and authorities for funding, including $13.9 million from Miami-Dade County officials.

But Thursday’s funding proposals nearly became de-railed after city officials balked at providing an additional $750,000 to cover debt service on the $17 million funding proposal expected to be finalized by the Overtown CRA. City attorneys objected to the proposal, as did District 5 commissioner Keon Hardemon, who represents Overtown residents. A compromise proposal that would have had Tri-Rail use its own funds to cover the debt service and get reimbursed by the CRA for that amount in construction costs failed.

Tri-Rail Executive Director Jack Stephens told The Real Deal that he will find the money to bridge the funding gap. “We still have to get $750,000 to get across the line,” he adds. “This is a small matter. We have to find it somewhere, so what I did was commit to somehow find it.”

Stephens has said that once the project is finished, 26 trains could travel daily between Palm Beach and a downtown Miami Central Station. In 2002, Miami-Dade voters approved a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects through the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust. Commuter rail supporters say without a downtown Tri-Rail station, traffic congestion will only get worse in Miami, which has seen its downtown population double to more than 80,000 residents and it tax base grow to $13 billion in recent years.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Ross Dress for Less

Ross Dress for Less signs lease at historic former Burdines building in downtown Miami

From left: Stambul’s Daniel Peña, Hotusa Group's Amancio López Seijas and Langford Hotel at 121 SE 1st Street (Credit: Google Maps and Hotusa)

Hotusa Hotels buys the redeveloped Langford for $37M

Daily Digest Miami

Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem proposing affordable housing in North Miami, Crescent Heights and Terra score loan: Daily digest

235 Southeast 1st Street, Mika Mattingly and Cecilia Estevez

Downtown Miami office building hits market, brokers expect sale price to top $30M

From left: Santiago Vanegas, Harvey Hernandez, David Arditi, and Russel Galbut

In a sluggish condo market, these Miami developers find a sweet spot

Jon Paul Pérez, Jorge Pérez and the downtown Miami skyline (Credit: iStock)

Miami’s biggest condo developer is going micro

Renderings of 400 Biscayne and Kevin Maloney 

Developers land $162M loan for downtown Miami co-living tower

Brickell office skyline (Credit: iStock)

Office construction in Miami hits a new record

arrow_forward_ios