Fort Lauderdale, Florida/Tri-County Commuter Rail Upgrades

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Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Upgrades

Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, Florida

(November 2000)


The Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority (Tri-Rail) operates a 71.7-mile regional transportation system connecting Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties in South Florida. Tri-Rail is proposing improvements to enhance significantly the service reliability of commuter rail in the rail corridor owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Tri-Rail intends to construct a second mainline track, rehabilitate the signal system and provide station and parking improvements. In addition, project costs include acquisition of new rolling stock, improvements to the Hialeah maintenance yard and construction of a new northern maintenance and layover facility. The proposed project will allow Tri-Rail to operate 20-minute headways during peak commuter hours, as opposed to the current one-hour headways.

The Double Track Corridor Improvement Program Segment 5 project is approximately 44.3-miles and covers all remaining double-tracking and other improvements to the corridor. When completed, it will result in 71.7 miles of double track railroad for the Southeast Florida Rail Corridor between the Mangonia Park Station (just north of West Palm Beach) to the Miami Airport Station. A two-track high clearance bridge at the west branch of the New River in Ft. Lauderdale will be constructed by the completion of Segment 5. The components of the project include:

  1. Construction of 44.31 miles of second mainline track, including the upgrade of five bridges and the construction of twelve new bridges to accommodate the second mainline track.
  2. Modification and renovation of ten existing stations, closure of one station and construction of one station.
  3. Demolition and reconstruction of the existing Palm Beach County Northern Layover Facility.
  4. Upgrade of the existing signal system along the 44.31 miles of new second track.
  5. Upgrade of the automated grade crossing protection at 72 crossings along the entire 71.7-mile corridor.
  6. Acquisition of five diesel locomotives and two cab control coaches.

Previous improvements to four other segments of the line are not included in the Segment 5 project.

To date 9.6 miles of the Double Track Corridor Improvement Project have been completed, including a station at Miami International Airport, which is planned to be a part of the proposed Miami Intermodal Center. An additional seven miles is scheduled for completion in early 2000. FDOT, in conjunction with Tri-Rail, is arranging to assume the dispatching and maintenance operations in the corridor from CSX Transportation (CSXT) in 2005.

Total project cost for the project is estimated at $327 million (escalated dollars), with a Section 5309 New Starts commitment of $110.5 million. Tri-Rail estimates that 42,100 average weekday boardings, including 10,200 daily new riders, will occur in the year 2015.


The Tri-Rail system was created in 1989 as a traffic mitigation project during the States widening of Interstate 95. Environmental requirements for the Tri-County Commuter Rail improvements were satisfied with categorical exclusions.

The Tri-Rail double-track corridor improvement project will be implemented in five segments. Segment I, an 8.14-mile portion between Pompano Beach and Broward Boulevard began in Spring 1995 and was completed in April 1997. Phase II, a 1.5-mile southern extension terminating at New Miami International Airport Station, adjacent to the site of the proposed Miami Intermodal Center, was completed in Spring 1998. Phase III, a 6.9-mile extension from south of the proposed Boca Raton/Glades Road Station to south of the Pompano Beach Station, began in March 1998 and was completed in July 2000.

Tri-Rail signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with FTA in June 2000 to implement Segment 5 of the Double Track Corridor Improvement Program. Segment 5 is scheduled for completion in March 2005.

TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(27) authorizes the Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach-Miami Tri-County Commuter Rail for final design and construction. Through FY 2001, Congress has appropriated $25.66 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds for the project, with an additional $54.26 million appropriated to the project, but not included in the scope of the FFGA. To date, Tri-Rail has also utilized $11.5 million of apportioned Fixed Guideway Modernization funds for the project, $24.1 million of Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula funds and $38.2 million in State funds, for a total of $134.6 million.

Locally Proposed Financing Plan

(Reported in $YOE)

Proposed Source of Funds Total Funding
Appropriations to Date
Section 5309 New Starts $110.50 $25.66 million appropriated through FY 2001
Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Funds $14.90 N/A
Section 5309 Guideway Modernization $19.30 N/A
Flexible Funds $57.20 N/A
Florida DOT $69.90 N/A
Dade MPO CMAQ/STP $22.20 N/A
Private Sector Financing $55.20 N/A
Total: $327.00

Note:Totals may not add due to rounding.

(An additional $54.26 million was appropriated to the project in prior years, but was not included in the FFGA scope. This amount brings the total appropriated to $79.96 million.)

 Tri-Rail Commuter Map of resulting 71.7 miles of double track railroad for the Southeast Florida Rail Corridor between the Mangonia Park Station (just north of West Palm Beach) to the Miami Airport Station.