Letters to the Editor

FDOT must make Tri-Rail to MiamiCentral station a reality

The elected officials who represent the residents of Miami-Dade, the city of Miami and the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Park West community redevelopment agencies have unanimously approved making the necessary investment to bring Tri-Rail to All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral station. Other local agencies that support this investment include the Downtown Development Authority, the Bayfront Park Trust and the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust.

About a year ago, this 20-year vision became a two-year implementation plan.

Throughout numerous discussions about financing, the Florida Department of Transportation told us that we needed to come together as a community and allocate the necessary funding. We did just that. With their votes, these boards have made it clear that public transportation is key to the future of our region, and the time has come to invest in real solutions.

Local leaders recognized that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring Tri-Rail into downtown Miami for a fraction of the cost. Now we need FDOT to make the same commitment and invest the remaining $20.3 million needed to make this important connection a reality.

Including Tri-Rail in All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral station will connect downtown Miami to cities in north Miami-Dade, including Hialeah, Opa-locka and Miami Gardens, all the way to Broward and Palm Beach counties, bringing traffic relief to the entire region and opening the door for job and educational opportunities for residents and economic development for businesses.

Looking into the not-too-distant future, this project is also the first building block of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link, which will provide rail service to the densest areas of our county, the eastern corridor. Cities such as North Miami, North Miami Beach and Aventura, and additional stops in Miami, like Midtown and 79th Street, will finally be connected by rail and offer an alternative for getting people out of cars and onto mass transit.

For an investment of $69 million — all of which will be used to build Tri-Rail’s infrastructure — we are connecting the economic heart of our region and the home of more than 80,000 residents to the rest of South Florida, with Tri-Rail trains starting to arrive in downtown Miami in early 2017.

This would not have been possible without the support of our community, which has highlighted the importance of making this connection. We hope the FDOT sees that the time is now to invest in a project that will change our county and region for decades to come.

Carlos A. Gimenez, mayor, Miami-Dade County

Marc Sarnoff,

commissioner, District 2, Miami