Brightline and Miami-Dade County Agree to Access Fee for New Commuter Rail System
Today, the Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approved an access fee paving the way for new commuter rail system on the Brightline/Florida East Coast Railway corridor. The system would connect the northeast region of Miami-Dade County with possible station locations at 151st Street (FIU), 123rd Street (North Miami), El Portal, the Design District, Wynwood and Little Haiti. The system would be interoperable with Brightline’s Aventura and MiamiCentral stations and would ultimately connect with Metrorail, Metromover and Tri-Rail. This project, which has been studied for decades, will provide reliable, convenient transportation to one of the densest areas of Miami-Dade County.
The agreement focuses on a $12 million annual access fee in addition to an initial payment of $50 million. The 90-year agreement only includes payment for the first 30 years. The system is designed to run hourly trains with additional service during peak rush-hour. The county will begin negotiating definitive documents with Brightline over the next 60 days and expects to make a decision on who will operate the system in the coming months.
The commuter rail system is expected to generate significant economic and environmental benefits while carrying nearly three million riders each year upon stabilization. Based on independent economic studies, the system is expected to generate $5 billion in economic impact over the first ten years. This includes over 23,500 jobs, $282 million in annual labor income, $5.5 million in annual revenue for Miami-Dade County and $7.2 million in annual revenue for Miami-Dade Public Schools.
Significant community support has been demonstrated throughout the approval process. Businesses, educational and cultural institutions, homeowners associations and sports teams realize the economic and quality of life value that will be delivered with this new commuter rail system.
“This is a tremendous milestone for Miami-Dade County and all the credit goes to the county commission and their vision to improve mobility in our community. A commuter rail system will take cars off the road and provide an environmentally friendly way to get around our region. In the short term, it will create jobs and rebuild our economy as we rebound from COVID,” said Brightline President Patrick Goddard.
“For decades I have advocated for a commuter rail along the Northeast Corridor, mobilizing people while reducing vehicles on our congested roads. Today is an important day; thanks to my Commission colleagues and Brightline, we are “on track” and closer to making this project a reality,” said Commissioner Sally Heyman, Miami-Dade County.
“Developing a commuter rail system along the economic centers of Miami-Dade County will provide more access to jobs, cultural centers, arenas and other locations critical to residents. Transportation remains key to moving our county forward and creating much-needed economic opportunities,” said Commission Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson, Miami-Dade County.
“The approval to move forward and implement commuter rail along the Northeast Corridor is the result of the grassroots efforts of over 50 businesses, community organizations and cultural institutions across Miami-Dade that collectively advocate for new mobility options such as this commuter rail initiative,” said Albert Garcia, Chairman of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) and Chairman of the Corridor Coalition. “Millions will benefit from the implementation of this public transit system and the economic growth it will generate. We remain committed to this project as it progresses and hope this service will soon expand to Broward.”
“The NE Corridor commuter rail system will deliver enhanced mobility options for our nearly 7,000 students, faculty and staff. FIU believes this project will have immediate impacts to our community and campus as it makes our Biscayne Bay campus multi-modal and fully connected to the county’s transit systems. We look forward to the project becoming a reality,” said Pablo G. Ortiz, Vice Provost, Biscayne Bay Campus.
CONTACT: Ben Porritt
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Brightline is the first privately funded passenger rail system in America in over a century and was recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in travel. Brightline is designed to reinvent travel and take cars off the road by connecting city pairs and congested corridors that are too close to fly and too long to drive. Providing fast, efficient, hospitality-driven transportation featuring the latest in customer-friendly amenities, Brightline currently operates in Florida between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with plans to develop new stations in Boca Raton, Aventura and PortMiami. Construction to Orlando is underway and will be complete in late 2022. Brightline West which will connect Las Vegas and Southern California is shovel ready and expect to launch service in 2024.