With two government transportation agencies pushing hard for an expansion of passenger rail in South Florida, a new commuter train may soon be chugging from downtown Fort Lauderdale through downtown Miami.
The Florida Department of Transportation recently proposed a short-term plan to start a passenger route from downtown to Fort Lauderdale using the Florida East Coast Railway, which runs parallel to U.S. 1 (Biscayne Boulevard/Brickell Avenue) in Miami-Dade County and is currently being revamped to transport cargo. The FDOT plan calls for six stations along the route and would cost around $300 million.
The department's long-term goal is a regional route from Miami to Jupiter, which in total could cost $1 billion, FDOT's mobility development manager Amie Goddeau said during a town hall meeting on Oct. 18.
At the same time, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), the agency that manages Tri-Rail, is pushing its own proposal for an expansion of the FEC railway. The Transportation Authority says its plan to connect Miami to Jupiter via passenger rail would cost $300 million -- $700 million less than FDOT's -- and take between three and five years to complete.