Nov 3, 2022 - News

Miami-Dade dumps monorail plan to pursue Metromover expansion

Miami-Dade's free MetroMover is pictured traveling along its rail.

The Metromover Station at Stephen P. Clark Government Center. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Miami-Dade County is scrapping a proposed $1.3 billion plan to build a monorail across Biscayne Bay, choosing instead to pursue an extension of the Metromover to connect Miami and Miami Beach.

Why it matters: For decades, county officials have discussed building rapid transit between mainland Miami and the Beach as a way to reduce traffic congestion and ease travel between the major hubs for tourists and hospitality workers.

Driving the news: Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Wednesday that the county has opted for a "one-seat" transit solution she said will be cheaper than the monorail and make commuting across Biscayne Bay more seamless.

Catch up fast: Former Mayor Carlos Gimenez struck a preliminary deal with casino owner Genting Group in 2020 to build a privately operated, publicly funded monorail connecting the company's waterfront property in Miami to South Beach, according to the Miami Herald.

  • The projected cost to operate the monorail doubled from about $60 million a year in the initial bid to about $117 million this year, which marks the deadline for the county to finalize its agreement with Genting, the Herald reports.

What they're saying: Levine Cava said in a statement that the county didn't strike an agreement due to the "significant increases in proposed costs over the course of the negotiating period."

  • "My administration is committed to providing our residents with innovative transit solutions that better connect residents to jobs and opportunity, while delivering maximum value to taxpayers," she said.

Transit advocates, who had urged Levine Cava to scrap the monorail idea, applauded the move.

  • "Our transit riders deserve a transit system that is economical and efficient," Transit Alliance Miami tweeted. "A Metromover will bring interconnectivity that other modes lack."

By the numbers: A 2019 study by Parsons predicted that expanding Metromover would be more popular than a monorail, attracting 27% more daily riders, the Herald reported at the time.

What's next: Levine Cava said the county will launch a competitive bidding process for the Metromover expansion in the coming weeks, with the goal of negotiating a deal by next October and beginning construction in 2025.

  • Operations are anticipated by 2029, she said.

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