District 7 County Commissioner Xavier Suarez presented a proposal for an integrated train/trolley system during a commission meeting held Monday afternoon at county hall.
The system will use a train that can run on rail tracks and then transition to the streets (watch a video). Suarez described it as an effort to utilize the portion of the old FEC Port Lead line that goes from Midtown to downtown Miami, which hasn’t been used for passenger service in the last 40 years, to create a new public transportation option along the Biscayne Corridor.
The county commissioner said the dual-mode train would cost more than the the city’s proposed trolley buses, but he believes it will be a faster transportation method and will connect more areas of the city. The cost for the dual-mode vehicle would be $250,000, as opposed to the $200,000 for a trolley bus.
But Suarez didn’t seem concerned about the price gap.
“We’ll figure out where we’ll get the extra $50,000,” he said
City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who was present at the meeting, said he supports the idea of a dual-mode train car that would give Miami residents more public transportation options.
“It will move the people [to] where the people are,” Regalado said.
During the hour-long meeting, Suarez presented a map with the route for the vehicle and a rendering that showed a roundabout with a fountain and palm trees on 36th St. and Second Ave., where the service would begin.
Suarez’s proposed system would use a section of the old FEC Port Lead line running from 36th St. and Second Ave. all the way to downtown Miami. The rail line doesn’t go straight south but angles slightly west, passing through Wynwood and Overtown’s Lyric Theatre, and then heading east to the Freedom Tower and Bayside.
It will now be up to city of Miami officials to continue with the project, who Suarez said have “agreed to consider it and almost accepted it.”
Open Media Miami will follow-up on the progress of this project. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.
See our live blog of the meeting as it happened: