Monday, July 31, 2017

Long sought relief for South Miami Dade traffic woes or is this just another delay - more kicking the can down the bus/transitway?

Rail or bust?  Is a bus that rolls like a bus, quacks like a bus, is limited in number of passengers like a bus and not fully funded like the promised BRT of the early 2000s still just a bus; or is this a (certainly not "the") real solution? Have we reached the point of "rail or repeal"?

How are we going to measure success or compliance with spending of the 1/2 Cent Sales Tax? there is a serious question here on the half-cent sales tax we approved in 2002.

See Miami Herald online of July 30, 2017, by Douglas Hanks, A Miami-Dade rarity: a speedy bus route that’s actually attracting passengers

Palmetto Bay is part of "the other side" part of the community represented by, as the Miami Herald states:
"... county commissioners and city leaders blasting the notion of Miami-Dade once again abandoning a countywide expansion of Metrorail first promised to voters in a 2002 referendum. Voters approved a half-percent sales tax for transportation that so far has generated about $2.8 billion in revenue and less than three miles of new rail."
The current Palmetto Bay council has consistently pushed for light rail - in numerous official village resolutions, town hall meetings and in public comments - ALL unanimous statements.
“We are not going to settle for bus in South Dade,” said Peggy Bell, the mayor of Cutler Bay. “Most cities within the United States have good rail systems for commuters. That is what was promised to the residents. And that’s what they want.”
State Rep. McGhee may be foreshadowing a community initiative to repeal a tax many perceive to be miss-applied, The Herald's Doug Hanks quotes Rep. McGee on BRT:
“I think it’s a joke,” Rep. Kionne McGhee who represents South Dade in Tallahassee, said of upgrading the busway. Given the promises of more rail made to voters in 2002 for the transportation tax, McGhee said buses should be considered a surrender on that original effort. “The whole objective is rail,” he said. “If there is going to be a push for more buses, then it is only logical that the people stop paying into the half-penny tax.”
This article is an important read onto the efforts/fight for mass transit to date in South Miami-Dade County.

For additional background, please see prior related post of May 15, 2017, Unified leadership - Mayors Peggy Bell & Eugene Flinn issue a joint statement about collaboration and the need for long term transit solution - Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell and I released our joint statement, in part: 
The Town of Cutler Bay and the Village of Palmetto Bay are dedicated to working together to find solutions to the traffic challenges our residents face daily. We are committed to obtaining Rail Mass Transit for South Dade, which is the most important way to address the explosive growth that continues to occur in South Dade. This growth is not due solely to our two municipalities. Cities south of us and unincorporated Miami Dade County residents must drive through these same streets to get to their destinations.
Are transit officials listening?   The overwhelming mood of the South Miami-Dade communities is "RAIL or REPEAL!"

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