MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Federal investigators are reviewing how Miami-Dade County spent tens of millions of federal dollars in transit funds.
That includes funds used for the county’s trolley system and slew of other transportation projects, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
The trolleys, which are free to ride, travel to Mary Brickell Village, the AmericanAirlines Arena, the Adrienne Arsht Center, Midtown and downtown Coral Gables. They do not, however, have routes into the largely black neighborhood of Wes Grove.
The nearly $70 million allotted to Miami-Dade in 2009 and 2010 was part of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, approved by Congress in 2009, to boost a depressed economy.
According to the paper, while the county’s transit department used much of the money for its own projects, it also struck agreements with 18 municipalities to buy buses and pay for other projects.
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Among the projects paid for with federal money include the 19 trolleys for Miami, the replacement of two trolleys for Sunny Isles, the replacement of 15 county hybrid, pool vehicles, the purchase of a shuttle bus for Bal Harbour, the purchase of two buses for Miami Beach and the purchase of a trolley for Coral Gables.
The investigation was launched in response to citizen complaints that some of the projects fail to serve poor and minority communities and may violate the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Miami-Dade Transit is now reviewing the projects financed with money it passed out to the cities to ensure that residents’ civil rights haven’t been violated, according to the paper. County officials are also meeting monthly with the Federal Transit Administration and reviewing their policies for following the civil rights guidelines.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report