Letters to the Editor

Editorial off the mark on transit vision

In response to the April 25, 2016, Miami Herald editorial, Six mass transit rail lines for Dade? That’s a doozy of a pipe dream.”

Miami-Dade’s transportation future depends on our ability to unify behind a consensus transit plan. Miami-Dade is the most populated and congested county in the state with 2.7 million residents and millions of visitors each year.

In order to address our congestion and mobility needs, we need to think big and declare a vision from which the county’s and MPO policy and funding framework will advance and prioritize mass transit in our community.

The Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan identifies six Rapid Transit Corridors that directly support the future population and employment growth in our region. A critical component of the SMART Plan is a connected network of Express Buses that will expand the reach of premium transit and integrate the SMART Plan with our existing Metrorail system.

For the first time, we will have all projects side by side to compare ridership, costs and funding plans. This information will assist in developing a comprehensive funding strategy that addresses the six corridors and allows for individual elements of the plan to move forward toward implementation. These studies are necessary to pursue federal, state and public-private partnership (P3) funds, which are instrumental in implementing this plan.

The MPO Fiscal Priorities Committee will be meeting over the next several months, in coordination with our regional transportation partners, to address the funding needs of the SMART Plan and identify strategies and partnerships to advance the plan.

There’s much work ahead to accomplish our vision, but it all starts now, with a unified voice and resolve to implement a plan that addresses all the needs of our community.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, MPO Chairman Jean Monestime, MPO Vice Chairman Francis Suarez and MPO Fiscal Priorities Chairwoman Daniella Levine Cava.