Miami, Florida/North 27th Avenue

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Miami North 27th Avenue

Miami, Florida

(November 1999)

(click here for map)


The Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) has proposed to construct a 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 at $615.2 million (escalated); based on the assumed Federal/local share, the Section 5309 share is $430.6 million (escalated).

On July 29, 1999, voters rejected a 1 cent sales tax increase to support proposed MDTA capital and operating needs, including the proposed North 27th Avenue rail project. As a result of the failed referendum, Metro-Dade is currently evaluating lower cost busway options for the North Corridor. The scope of the resulting proposed investment may not be consistent with the information submitted for this profile.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Heavy rail line

9.5 miles, 7 stations

Total Capital Cost ($YOE)

$615.2 million

Section 5309 Share ($YOE)

$430.6 million

Annual Operating Cost ($YOE):

$15.1 million

Year Ridership Forecast (2015):

14,500 avg. weekday boardings

11,200 daily new riders

FY 2001 Financial Rating:


FY 2001 Project Justification Rating:


FY 2001 Overall Project Rating:

Not Recommended

The overall project rating of Not Recommended is based upon the lack of local financial commitment to construct and operate the proposed project. The overall project rating applies to this Annual New Starts Report and reflects conditions as of November 1999. 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.


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 late 2000.

On July 29, 1999, voters rejected a 1 cent sales tax increase to support proposed MDTA capital and operating needs, including the proposed North 27th Avenue rail project. As a result, Metro-Dade is currently re-evaluating other alternatives to improve transportation mobility in the North 27th Avenue Corridor.

TEA-21 Section 3030 (a) (44) authorizes the Miami North 27th Avenue project for final design and construction. Through FY2000, Congress has appropriated $11.93 million in Section 5309 New Start funds for this proposed project.


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.

FTA has evaluated this project as being in preliminary engineering. The project will be re-evaluated when it is ready to advance to final design, and for next year’s Annual Report on New Starts. However, note that the scope of the project may change following the local re-evaluation of potential alternatives currently underway.


The Medium project justification rating reflects the adequate transit supportive policies along the proposed alignment, but acknowledges the relatively poor cost-effectiveness of the project.

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Medium

The 9.5 mile extension is expected to serve 14,500 average weekday boardings and 11,200 daily new riders by 2015. 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.


New Start vs. TSM

Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours)

0.8 million

0.8 million

Based on 1990 census data, there are an estimated 1,383 low-income households 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.


New Start vs. TSM

Carbon Monoxide (CO)



Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)



Hydrocarbons (HC)



Particulate Matter (PM10)



Carbon Dioxide (CO2)



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.


New Start vs. TSM

BTU (million)



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.




New Start

System Operating Cost per

Passenger Mile (2015)




Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and 1999 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.


New Start vs.


Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger



Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and 1999 dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium

The Medium rating reflects only marginally transit-supportive existing land uses along the proposed alignment but acknowledges local policies which encourage infill development and increased densities at transit station locations and the potential for future development activities in the corridor.

Existing Conditions: The predominant land uses along the proposed corridor is strip commercial that is bordered on the east and west by low and medium density residential land uses. However, there are several 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 along the proposed corridor. The population of the corridor is expected to grow by 9 percent, from 248,456 to 269,876 between 1995 and 2015 and the employment in the corridor is expected to grow from 94,690 to 115,151, a 22 percent increase. The corridor contains 12 percent of the metropolitan area population and 8 percent of the metropolitan area employment. The land use patterns in the corridor are auto-oriented, with a significant supply of parking in most employment centers, shopping areas, and attractions.

Future Plans and Policies: An Urban Infill Strategy Task Force has been established to encourage infill development and increased densities by the State of Florida and several regional planning councils. 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 the 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. Miami-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 $430.6 million from Section 5309 New Start funds (70 percent), $92.3 million (15 percent) in State funds, and $92.3 million (15 percent) in other local funds.

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Low

The Low rating is due to the large share of uncommitted and/or unidentified local funding proposed for the project.

Agency Capital Financial Condition: The overall financial condition of the MDTA is adequate. On July 29, 1999, a proposed 1 cent sales tax increase, primarily to help pay for new MDTA transit projects and transit operating expenses, was rejected by Miami-Dade County residents. The impact of the failure to pass the 1% tax has significant financial implications for availability of MDTA Capital funding.

Capital Cost Estimates and Contingencies: The capital cost estimates appear reasonable for a project of this size and scope.

Existing and Committed Funding: MDTA has not secured any firm local funding commitments for the proposed North 27th Avenue rail project. A potential State funding source for 15 percent of total costs has been identified as supplemental appropriations 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). 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.

New and Proposed Sources: MDTA has proposed that Miami-Dade County fund a portion of the local match through general obligation bonds supported by the County’s existing revenues. The bonds would be backed by 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 lack of committed operating funding sources to the project.

Agency Operating Condition: The MDTA is in good operating condition. In recent years, MDTA has experienced operating surpluses (on average), a 30 percent farebox recovery ratio and consistent ridership levels. Miami-Dade County has historically provided sufficient operating funds as required to operate the existing MDTA system.

Operating Cost Estimates and Contingencies: MDTA projects an annual operating cost of $15.1 million (YOE) in the year 2015 for the North 27th Avenue project. Cost estimates appear reasonable, although no contingency provisions have been identified.

Existing and Committed Funds: MDTA has not identified specific sources or revenues to fund operation of the proposed project.

New and Proposed Sources: MDTA has not identified specific sources or revenues to fund operation of the proposed project.


Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)


Proposed Source of Funds


Total Funding ($million)


Appropriations to Date

Section 5309 New Starts $430.6 ($11.93 million appropriated through FY 00)
  Public Transit Block Grant Program




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



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


North 27th Avenue Corridor (map)