Miami, Florida/South Miami-Dade Busway Extension
South Miami-Dade Busway Extension
The Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) is proposing to extend its existing South Miami-Dade Busway further south to Florida City. The Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has selected a locally-preferred alternative (LPA), which is an 11.5 mile extension of the South Miami-Dade Busway from Cutler Ridge Mall near SW 200 Street to Florida City along side US Route 1 (U.S.1). Within the corridor, 12 stations are proposed with 6 park-n-ride lots and 620 parking spaces. The proposed extension will improve bus travel times and transit access in the corridor along U.S. 1 in South Florida, which now has limited transit service. The proposed Busway is an extension to an existing 8.3 mile busway which opened in February of 1997, and which has increased transit ridership in the corridor by providing improved travel times for commuters from the rapidly growing area south of Miami. MDTA has estimated total project costs at $88.8 million (escalated dollars), with a proposed New Starts share of $23.4 million. Because the proposed New Starts share is less than $25 million, the project is exempt from the New Starts criteria, and is not subject to FTA’s evaluation and rating (TEA-21 Section 5309(e)(8)(A)). The busway is estimated to carry 8,800 average weekday boardings on the extension, including 3,300 daily new riders.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), undertook a Major Investment Study of the Florida East Coast Railroad Right of Way, completed in 1985, which recommended that a Busway be constructed from the Dadeland South Metrorail Station south to Florida City. Phase I of the busway, from the Dadeland Metrorail Station to Culter Ridge, was constructed with FHWA funding and opened in 1997. Concurrent with construction of Phase I, FDOT and FHWA completed a Preliminary Engineering Report/Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was completed December of 1997. The MPO Board selected the Busway as the locally preferred alternative in December of 1998, and added the project to its 2015 and 2020 Long Range Transportation Plans. FTA approved the initiation of Final Design for the project in October, 2000. Miami-Dade anticipates beginning construction for the first 5 mile segment by March of 2001 and for the remaining 6.5 miles by January 2002.
In August 1999, the South Miami-Dade Busway Extension was selected as one of FTA’s ten Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Demonstration Projects.
TEA-21 Section 3030(a)(46) authorizes the South Miami-Dade Busway Extension for final design and construction. Through FY2000, Congress has not appropriated any Section 5309 New Start funds for this proposed project. In FY2001, Congress reprogrammed $16.9 million in funding previously appropriated for the Miami North 27th Avenue corridor and the Miami East-West Corridor projects for the South Busway.