Miami Beach fast tracks $400M light rail project for South Beach

South Beach
South Beach

Miami Beach city officials are fast-tracking plans to build a light rail system in South Beach that would eventually connect the barrier island to mainland Miami.

The city commission on Wednesday will reportedly consider a recommendation to begin negotiations with Alstom, the French rail firm and lead bidder for the nearly $400 million project.

Three firms threw their hats into the ring for the public-private partnership, according to the Miami Herald, with the primary difference in their designs being the way they’re powered.

In order to speed things along, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales has recommended the city begin negotiations with Folstrom, and move on to the secondary bidder — Connect Miami Beach — should those talks fall through. Miami Beach Mobility Partners is the third bidder in the running.

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The city would also forego negotiating prices with the bidders until a design is chosen, the Herald reported.

If built, South Beach’s light rail system would make up about one-third of the long sought-after Bay Link project aimed at connecting mainland Miami to the beach.

Under all three proposals, the trains would be wireless cars that would run every six to seven minutes along Fifth Street, Washington Avenue, 17th Street and Alton Road. An alternate route would have the trains cross Dade Boulevard instead of 17th Street, creating a longer loop. [Miami Herald] — Sean Stewart-Muniz