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Miami, Florida/Miami East-West Corridor

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Miami East-West Corridor

Miami, Florida

(November 1998)


The Miami-Dade Transit Agency is proposing a locally preferred alternative (LPA) including a set of multimodal improvements in the Route (SR 836) East-West corridor that will link the suburban area west of the Palmetto Expressway (SR 836) with the Miami International Airport (MIA), downtown Miami, and the Port of Miami seaport. The LPA includes an 11.2-mile minimum-operable-segment (MOS) of a heavy rail transit alignment that runs from just east of the Palmetto Expressway (SR 836) to the Port of Miami. There is an additional (0.7-mile) branch from MIA to the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC). The heavy rail line includes 8.2 miles of aerial guideway and 3.6 miles of bored tunnel with ten stations (six aerial and four underground). The LPA includes two buffer-separated HOV lanes, one in each direction, in the median of SR 836 from NW 107th Avenue to the SR 836/SR 112 Interconnector/(MIC).

Capital costs estimates for the LPA (transit and roadway improvements) total $1.58 billion (1995 dollars). The rail portion of the project is estimated to cost $1.48 billion (1995 dollars) and $2.15 billion in escalated dollars. The new rail line is expected to carry 27,300 average weekday boardings on opening day and 31,400 average weekday boardings by the year 2020.

Miami East-West Corridor Summary Description

Proposed Project Heavy-rail line
11.9 miles, 10 stations
Total Capital Cost ($YOE) $2,152.00 million
Section 5309 Share ($YOE) $808.00 million
Annual Operating Cost ($1995) $25.80 million
Ridership Forecast (2020) 31,400 average weekday boardings
13,300 daily new riders
FY 2000 Financial Rating: Low-Medium
FY 2000 Project Justification Rating: Medium
FY 2000 Overall Project Rating: Not Recommended

The overall project rating applies to this Annual New Starts Report and reflects conditions as of November 1998. Project evaluation is an ongoing process. As new starts projects proceed through development, the estimates of costs, benefits and impacts are refined. The FTA ratings and recommendations will be updated annually reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.


Preliminary Engineering (PE) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the East-West Corridor are completed, with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) participating as the lead federal agency. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Maritime Administration, and the Coast Guard are cooperating agencies pursuant to a 1993 Memorandum of Understanding. In October 1996, FDOT initiated PE and the FEIS for the LPA. The FEIS was finalized in August 1998 and a joint FHWA/FTA Record of Decision was issued September 28, 1998. The Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) recently assumed responsibility for the project from the Florida Department of Transportation.

TEA-21 Section 3030 (a) (44) authorizes the Miami East-West project for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, Congress has appropriated $9.47 million in Section 5309 New Start funds for this project.


The following criteria have been estimated in conformance with FTA’s Technical Guidance on Section 5309 New Starts Criteria. MDTA indicates that a TSM alternative was not advanced in the project development process; therefore, criteria comparing the New Start to the TSM alternative are not available (NA).


Mobility Improvements

Rating: Medium

MDTA estimates the following annual travel time savings for the forecast year 2020.

Mobility Improvements New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours) 10.10 million hours N/A

Based on 1990 census data, there are an estimated 849 low-income households (defined as households below the poverty level by the U.S. Bureau of the Census) within a ½ mile radius of the proposed 10 stations, about 37 percent of total households within ½ mile of the proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: Medium

The southeast Florida area is an attainment area for carbon monoxide and a maintenance area for ozone. MDTA estimates that in the year 2020, the rail component of the LPA would result in emissions reductions for Carbon Monoxide (CO) and HC (Hydrocarbons), and increases for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM10).

Criteria Pollutant New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Carbon Monoxide (CO) decrease of 18,241 annual tons N/A
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) increase of 141 annual tons N/A
Hydrocarbons (HC) decrease of 1,067 annual tons N/A
Particulate Matter (PM10) increase of 63 annual tons N/A
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) decrease of 2 annual tons N/A

MDTA estimates that in the year 2015, the proposed project will result in a decrease in regional energy consumption (measured in British Thermal Units) as shown below.

Annual Energy Savings New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
BTU (millions) decrease of 3 annual BTU N/A

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Medium

MDTA estimates a slight increase in the system-wide operating cost per passenger mile in the year 2020 for the rail component compared to the No-Build alternative.

Operating Efficiencies No-Build TSM New Start
System Operating Cost per Passenger Mile (2020) $0.35 N/A $0.36

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 1995 dollars.

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Low-Medium

MDTA estimates the following cost-effectiveness index for the rail component compared to the No-Build Alternative.

Cost Effectiveness New Start vs. No-Build New Start vs. TSM
Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger $18.90 N/A

Values reflect 2020 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium-High

The Medium-High rating for transit-supportive existing and future land use patterns is largely due to the high-trip generators along the project corridor and local policies to promote infill development and increased densities at transit station locations. Major trip generators are located along the corridor including downtown Miami, the planned sports arena in downtown Miami, the Orange Bowl and the planned Miami Intermodal Center. The project will provide intermodal connections with the Miami International Airport and the Tri-County Commuter Rail service at the Miami Intermodal Center, with the existing Metrorail and Metromover service in downtown Miami, and with the cruise ship terminals at the Port of Miami.

While densities are currently low in some potions of the corridor, densities are expected to increase through infill development as promoted by initiatives from the State of Florida and several regional planning councils, the City of Miami, and recommendations from an Urban Infill Strategy Task Force. Also, recent changes to Miami-Dade County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) require a minimum density of housing units and employment based on distance from rail stations. The Station Area Aesthetics, Design and Development (SAAD&D) initiative creates separate community-oriented planning processes to develop area plans and design guidelines for each station. The SAAD&D process began in late 1998 for corridor stations following final alignment and station site choices. MDTA has completed preliminary market development surveys for each station and has determined general development potential. Some progress toward development around several stations is evident and plans for several stations appear advanced. Plans for development at station areas along the proposed East-West corridor include proposals for mixed-use development at the NW 57th Avenue and MIC station areas and a new post office and day care center adjacent to the proposed Blue Lagoon Station area.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 Share of Total Project Costs: 62.5%

MDTA’s financial plan assumes $808 million from Section 5309 New Start funds (37.5 percent of total project cost) and local funding sources totaling $1.334.5 billion (62.5 percent). Local funding sources identified in the financial plan include $796.6 million (37 percent of total project costs) in funds from the regional Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), $229 million (10.7 percent) from toll road revenue bonds, $100 million (4.6 percent) from Port of Miami revenue bonds, $30 million (1.4 percent) from development rights, $11.2 million (0.5 percent) from cross-border leasing, and $177.1 million (8.2 percent) from the Local Option Gas Tax.

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Low

The Low rating is largely due to the fact that a large share of the proposed non-Federal funding has either not been committed by participating agencies, or exact funding sources and financing mechanisms have not been specified. $1,025 million of non-Federal funding sources may be committed through legislation, resolution or other formal, binding agreement; however, exact sources have not been identified or confirmed. $796.6 million in current state and non-discretionary federal funding programs historically available to Miami-Dade County are being examined, as well as local fuel taxes and some federal sources. MDTA proposes to bond some funds included in the long range regional transportation plan as a source of funding for the project. $229 million in Dade County Expressway Authority (DCEA) toll revenues are committed by legislation but the tolls are not yet operational.

MDTA estimates approximately $30 million in funds from the sale or lease of rail station development rights, however, the agency has yet to obtain a firm funding commitment for this transaction. An estimated $100 million is proposed from the Port of Miami (towards capital costs associated with a premium Airport-Seaport rail service). However, the Port has yet to commit to this funding level. MDTA continues to indicate a potential cost savings from cross-border leasing as a source of funds. The Miami-Dade County Board has not approved implementation of a local option gas tax (proposed to contribute $177.1 million) which would support construction of the project.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Low

The Low rating reflects the fact that no sources of ongoing operating funds have been committed by participating agencies at this time. The only source proposed to date includes surpluses from a premium round-trip service for tourists traveling between the Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami on the proposed East-West line. The actual revenues that will be generated by this premium service have yet to be determined, and no commitments are in place. The financial operating plan assumes that 54 percent of cruise ship embarkations will select this service over the taxi and charter bus options, generating a farebox recovery ratio of 214 percent for this service. Surpluses from this premium service are anticipated to fully cover operating deficits on the East-West line. No other funding sources are identified within the plan to cover the operating deficit.

Proposed Source of Funds Total Funding
Appropriations to Date
Section 5309 New Starts $808.00 $9.47 million appropriated through FY 1999
State and Local:
Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) $796.60 N/A
Toll Revenue Bonds $229.00 N/A
Port of Miami $100.00 N/A
Cross Border Leasing $11.20 N/A
Local Option Gas Tax $177.10 N/A
Joint Development $30.00 N/A
Total: $2,152.50

Note: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding.

[Miami East-West Corridor Map (PDF)]

Commitment to Accessibility: DOT is committed to ensuring that information is available in appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files provided on this page, please contact