Anthony Garcia wrote about past unfulfilled aspects of the People’s Transportation Plan (PTP) in his Feb. 7 Other Views column, The brain drain and transit. We suggest it is more productive to look forward.
At the 2008 Transportation Summit, it was acknowledged that there were not sufficient funds in the PTP to deliver the projects in the time frame developed when the it was approved in 2002.
In June 2013, a Transportation Summit was held with more than 500 participants. It demonstrated broad support for continuing to invest in major transit improvements and explored a broad range of innovative funding approaches.
Major transit efforts are under way. A premium transit study linking Miami and Miami Beach is on schedule to be completed this summer. Bus Rapid Transit investments are being made throughout the county, including those along Northwest 27th Avenue, State Road 836 and other PTP corridors.
Regarding some statements made in the Feb. 7 column:
• Before the PTP, Miami-Dade Transit had 560 buses operating during peak-service hours. Today, there are 687 buses, a 23-percent increase.
• No PTP funds have been used for adding managed lanes. Federal funds were used to purchase buses providing intercounty express-lane service on I-95, and toll funds pay for the operation of these buses.
• All surtax-funded expenditures have been overseen by the 15-member CITT body, created as part of the voters’ approval of the 2002 PTP referendum. As part of the PTP, major and transformative investments have been made in our community which include:
The Orange Line extension to Miami International Airport cost a total of $506 million, of which $404.7 million came from PTP funds; new vehicles for Metrorail cost $375.7 million and Metromover vehicles were approximately $69 million; voter approved fare-free transit on Metromover ridership has doubled to over 9 million and registered users for Golden and Patriot Passports have more than tripled to more than 200,000;
And, 596 new buses have been purchased at a cost of approximately $135 million.
We agree that more needs to be done to expand, improve and better connect our transportation network. Transit is an essential component to attracting and retaining people in our community. Let’s focus on the future and work together to make the vision of better transit a reality. PTP investment lists, reports and summit information can be found at www.miamidade.gov/citt.
Ysela Llort, director,
Miami-Dade Transit, Miami
Charles Scurr, executive director, The Citizens’ Independent
Transportation Trust, Miami