It’s time to get serious about the Miami to Miami Beach transit link.
Tomorrow there is an important meeting of the Miami-Dade County Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), the County’s main transportation board. During the meeting, its board members will hear about a study from Parsons, a national firm that recommends scenarios for elevated transit link solutions that include a People Mover and something akin to Disney’s Monorail.
The timing of the vote is important to Miami-Dade as it looks to Tallahassee and Washington D.C. if and when it looks for help with funding.
In my opinion, the TPO needs to approve the Parson recommendations and let private companies bid on the best way to implement it. At the end of the day, we need the link to make it easier for locals to go back and forth between the island and the mainland. And, visitors will ride it because it’s not fun to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic going to or from the beach.
Let’s face it – fun is at the core of Miami’s reputation as an international destination. A big part of why people come here from Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Russia and places all over the U.S. is to have fun. This goal is what helps drive our multi-billion dollar economy and cannot be ignored.
But as always, there is a potential wrench in the works. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber is already raining on our link, suggesting it will cost too much and it won’t have enough riders. He also wants more time, probably to build a stronger case against it, if you ask me. I guess 30 years is not enough time to figure out the best strategy.
You know what they say, when you want to kill something, you send it to committee or you “study” it. If Gelber gets his way, the potential solutions in the Parsons study are going to be studied to death.
Don’t get me wrong. Such an important project should get the full vetting of commissioners of all stripes. And the process for picking the right company should be 100-percent transparent and contingent on significant public feedback and input.
So, now that we are at the start of a new decade, let’s take the Parsons study seriously and vote to accept its recommendations. Then we can come up with the most exciting, innovative transit link that will be the envy of the world.
If you still have reservations, make sure to attend all the public meetings. I guarantee I will be there and you should, too.