U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Wednesday visited the futuristic new Metrorail station at Miami International Airport, and then delivered a $10 million check to Miami-Dade Transit to replace aging diesel buses with new hybrid vehicles.
This is a magnificent facility, said LaHood, referring to the Metrorail station, which will open Saturday when the new Metrorail Orange Line starts operating from MIA to the Dadeland South station in Kendall.
This is the first time since Metrorail opened in 1984 that the elevated train system will have a line going to the airport.
The trains on the new line will run every 10 minutes Monday through Friday during peak hours and every 15 minutes during non-peak times. Late at night and on weekends, trains will run every 30 minutes.
Airport passengers can park their vehicles for up to 30 days at three Metrorail stations: Earlington Heights, 2100 NW 41st St.; South Miami, 5949 Sunset Dr.; and Okeechobee, 2005 W. Okeechobee Rd. Cost: $4 per day.
The line to MIA was built in three years at a cost of about $506 million. The new airport station will operate as part of a transportation hub known as the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC), across Le Jeune Road from the airport. The MIC is linked to the airport via an automated train.
After the ceremony where LaHood gave Miami-Dade Transit the $10 million grant, the secretary voiced admiration for the expansion of Metrorail, and indirectly criticized Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who last year canceled a project backed by President Barack Obama to build a bullet train from Tampa to Orlando.
We need enlightened leadership in the state capital, in the governors office, said LaHood.