In my last column, I provided an overview of the Municipal Program of the People’s Transportation Plan, or PTP, the list of transportation projects approved by Miami-Dade County voters in 2002 as part of the “half-penny” sales surtax. In this second part of a larger series, I focus on some of the other components of the PTP that were included in the original ballot language ultimately approved by voters. As a reminder, here is that language as it appeared on the ballot:
Shall the County implement the People’s Transportation Plan including: Plans to build rapid transit lines to West Dade, Kendall, Florida City, Miami Beach and North Dade; expanding bus service; adding 635 buses; improving traffic signalization to reduce traffic backups; improving major and neighborhood roads and highways, including drainage; and funding to municipalities for road and transportation projects by levying a half percent sale surtax whose proceeds will be overseen by the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust?
Clearly, while a core (and thus-far unfulfilled) promise of the PTP was the expansion of rapid transit across the county (more on that in a future column), the PTP also included a host of other projects, many of which have come to fruition. For instance, included in the more detailed County Ordinance that approved the ballot language, was a list of 39 specific roadway projects and other enhancements to the traffic system. Of those roadway projects, roughly three quarters of them have been completed, and the rest are either currently under development, or in a few cases, were deemed unfeasible and removed from the Plan.
Some of the completed roadway projects from the original PTP and subsequent amendments to the plan include the expansion, widening and/or enhancement of Caribbean Blvd., Grand Avenue, Miami Gardens Drive, Old Cutler Road, South Miami Avenue, NW 7 Street, NW 22 Ave, SW 27 Avenue, NW/SW 62nd Avenue, NW 62 Street, SW 72 avenue, NW 74 Street, NW 82 Ave, NW 87 Avenue, NW/SW 97 Avenue, SW 127 Avenue, SW 136 Street, NW 138 Street, SW 143 Terrace, SW 157 Avenue, SW 160 Street, SW 176 Street, SW 180 Street and SW 264 Street.
Remaining roadway projects that are currently under development include South Bayshore Drive, NE 2 Avenue, NW 12 Street, NW 37 Avenue, SW 137 Avenue and SW 216 Street. You can find detailed information on all of these and other PTP projects on the Transportation Trust’s website: www.miamidade.gov/citt.
The PTP also included plans for a complete upgrade of our antiquated traffic signalization system in order to move cars more efficiently, reduce travel times and maximize capacity on our existing roadways. This led to the Advanced Traffic Management Signalization system, or ATMS, that is currently being deployed throughout the County.
In its initial pilot phase along a handful of our most congested corridors, the deployment of ATMS has proven to reduce travel times by an average of 10-15 percent. This means travel time savings for transit too. For example, installation of ATMS on the South Dade Transitway has decreased the running time of Route 34 from Florida City to the Dadeland South Metrorail Station from 1 hour and 7 minutes to 55 minutes, achieving an 18 percent savings in travel time. ATMS will also allow the County to leverage new technological advances in mobility solutions, such as automated vehicles, as they come to fruition.
All of this might seem to imply that the bulk of surtax funding has gone to these traffic and roadway projects instead of transit, and yet all of these projects have been accomplished using less than 10 percent of the half-penny proceeds collected over time. Remember that 20 percent of the funds have gone to the municipalities, as required, and two-thirds of the funds have in fact been spent on transit, just not necessarily for transit expansion. And that, dear readers, shall be the subject of my next column(s). Stay tuned…