Miami, Florida/Miami North 27th Avenue

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Miami North 27th Avenue

Miami, Florida

(November 1998)

Description

The Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) is proposing a locally preferred alternative that will extend existing Metrorail service into north-central Miami-Dade County. The Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has selected a locally-preferred alternative (LPA), identifying a new heavy rail line along a 9.5-mile section of NW 27th Avenue between an existing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Metrorail station and the Broward County line. Park-n-ride lots would be provided to intercept commuters in the corridor. The proposed heavy rail line along the Northwest 27th Avenue corridor would provide direct service to the Miami CBD and Medical Center as well as provide service to Miami Dade Community College - North Campus and the Pro Player Stadium. MDTA has estimated total project costs in year of expenditure (YOE) at $595.7 million; based on the assumed Federal/local share, the YOE Section 5309 share is $405.4 million.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Heavy rail line

9.5 miles, 7 stations

Total Capital Cost ($YOE)

$579.2 million

Section 5309 Share ($YOE)

$405.4 million

Annual Operating Cost ($1998):

$7.8 million

Year Ridership Forecast (2015):

11,200 daily boardings

FY 2000 Financial Rating:

Low

FY 2000 Project Justification Rating:

Low-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 to reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.

Status

The Miami-Dade Transit Agency completed a Major Investment Study (MIS) for the North Corridor in November 1995. The MPO Board selected the NW 27th Avenue alignment as the locally preferred alternative in November 1995 and added the project to its Cost Feasible Year 2015 Long Range Transportation Plan. An Option 1 Alternative Analysis and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), including consideration of two busway alternatives and one heavy rail alternative, has been completed with FTA participating as the lead Federal Agency. In May 1998, the MPO selected the heavy rail alternative, a Metrorail Extension along NW 27th Avenue, as the LPA. The Preliminary Engineering/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) phase is underway and is currently scheduled for completion in April 1999.

Through FY1999, Congress has appropriated $11.94 million in Section 5309 New Start funds for this proposed project.

Evaluation

The following criteria have been estimated in conformance with FTA’s Technical Guidance on Section 5309 New Starts Criteria for the 9.5 mile Metrorail Extension. N/A indicates that information is not available for a specific measure.

Justification

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Low-Medium

MDTA estimates the following annual travel time savings for the Metrorail Extension alternative compared to the No-Build and TSM alternatives.

 

Mobility Improvements

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours)

0.9 million 

0.8 million

Based on 1990 census data, there are an estimated 1,383 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 seven stations for the Metrorail extension, roughly 27 percent of total households within ½ mile of the proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: High

The southeast Florida area is an attainment area for carbon monoxide and a maintenance area for ozone. MDTA estimates that in 2015, the Metrorail Extension will result in the following impact on emissions.

 

 

Criteria Pollutant

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

689

861

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)

61

82

Hydrocarbons (HC)

46

59

Particulate Matter (PM10)

78

97

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

17,450

24,227

Values reflect annual tons of emissions reductions.

MDTA estimates that in the year 2015, the LPA will result in the following impacts on regional energy consumption.

 

Annual Energy Savings

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

BTU (million)

126,659

213,760

Values reflect annual BTU reductions.

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Medium

MDTA estimates a decrease in the system-wide operating cost per passenger mile in the year 2015 for the heavy-rail alternative compared to both the No-Build and TSM.

 

No-Build

TSM

New Start

System Operating Cost per

Passenger Mile (2015)

$0.41

$0.41

$0.39

Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Low-Medium

MDTA estimates the following cost-effectiveness indices for the Metrorail Extension alternative compared to the No-Build and the TSM alternatives.

 

 

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs.

TSM

Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger

$13.30

$17.90

Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and 1997 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium

The Medium Land Use rating reflects local policies which encourage infill development and increased densities at transit station locations and the potential for future development activities in the corridor. Land use along the project corridor consists mainly of strip commercial areas bordered on the east and west by low/medium residential uses. Potential high-trip generators including the Pro Player Stadium, St. Thomas University and the North Campus of the Miami-Dade Community College and Miami-Dade County Health Center are located along the project corridor.

Infill development and increased densities are promoted by initiatives from the State of Florida and several regional planning councils and recommendations from an Urban Infill Strategy Task Force. State and regional policies promote infill development with implementation dependent on local jurisdictions. Miami-Dade County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) requires localities to accommodate new development around transit stations that incorporate certain physical design elements. The CDMP promotes pedestrian access and provision of bus stops. Recent changes to the Miami-Dade County’s CDMP require a minimum density of housing units and employment based on distance from rail stations. Currently, there is no county-wide parking policy for Dade County. However, a recent study proposes a schedule for development of a coordinated parking policy. The DEIS process has resulted in a program to tie each station to the adjoining residential neighborhoods through the planning of pedestrian connections and bus transfers. Dade County has included extensions of water and sewer lines to each station along the project corridor to support development in the station areas. The development community has participated in project planning through membership in the citizen’s advisory committee. Recent development activities are indicated by proposals for new development projects. For example, developers have obtained clearances for large-scale projects near the proposed NW 199th Street Station.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 of Total Project Costs: 30%

MDTA’s financial plan assumes $334.2 million from Section 5309 New Start funds (70 percent of the total project cost), $71.6 million (15 percent) in State funds, and $71.6 million (15 percent) in other local funds (all in 1997 dollars).

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Low

The Low rating is largely due to the uncertain nature of the identified sources of the proposed local share of project costs. As of the date of this report, MDTA had not yet secured firm funding commitments from either the state or local funding matches for the project. The potential State funding source for 15 percent of total costs has been identified as Supplemental Appropriations provisions of Florida’s Public Transit Block Grant Program. MDTA currently receives its full allocation from this source, and intends to seek legislative action to raise the Block Grant spending cap to seek additional funds for the project.

The Local Option Gas Tax (LOGT) is proposed to yield $70 million (15 percent of total cost). However, the LOGT has been rolled back from the five cents per gallon assumed in the project’s financial plan to three cents per gallon, and may only provide $15 million (pay-as-you-go) to $30 million (via revenue bonds) towards the project.

MDTA is proposing that Miami-Dade County fund a portion of the local match through general obligation bonds supported by the County’s existing revenues. This source is proposed based on the redevelopment benefits the project is assumed to provide within the North Corridor. This source has not been approved by the County.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Low

The Low operating plan rating reflects the fact that specific funding sources to cover project operating costs have yet to be committed. MDTA projects an annual operating cost of $7.8 million ($1998) in the year 2015. MDTA indicates that Miami-Dade County has historically provided sufficient operating funds as required to operate new transit investments; however, there is no evidence of specific support for operating the North 27th Avenue Rail line. In recent years, MDTA has experienced a 30 percent farebox recovery ratio and consistent ridership levels.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $1997)

 

Proposed Source of Funds

Federal:

Total Funding ($million)

 

Appropriations to Date

Section 5309 New Starts $334.2 (11.94 million appropriated through FY 99)
State:
  Public Transit Block Grant Program

$71.6

 
Local:

$71.6

 
  Local Option Gas Tax    
  Right-of-Way Easements    
  General County Revenues/ General Obligation Bonds    
 

TOTAL

$477.4

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

MAP