MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With some of the worst traffic in the United States, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has climbed on board a plan to create a rapid bus network to smooth the road.
The fast bus grid would eventually spider into existing Metrorail lines from every area of the county.
Gimenez says there isn’t money to expand rail countywide.
After hearing hours of speakers, most against the improved bus plan, the Transportation Planning Organization deferred the improved bus system plan to its August 30th meeting.
“We can’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and we need to go ahead and do what’s good for the people of Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said.
At a meeting of the county’s transportation planning organization, which includes the county commissioners, critics said hogwash, that the people imposed a half-penny tax on themselves 16 years ago to bring high-speed service everywhere.
“Serve the people of South Dade by giving us what we were promised, and what we’ve been paying for all these years which is elevated Metro rail,“ said Steven‘s Zarzecki of the Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay.
Detractors say the county has missed spent billions raised by the transit tax.
“They spent it on maintenance and operation of the system, instead of expanding Metrorail to all four corners of the county as the people voted for,“ said Commissioner Xavier Suarez.
Stage one of the faster bus service would go to South Dade from Dadeland. Business leaders say the masses will not take a bus to the bank or bakery.
“The only credible system that will do for business growth is really the rail,“ said Rene Infante of the South Dade Economic Development Council.
City mayors almost universally are booing buses.
“Why are we talking about spending a quarter of $1 billion to dress up what we already have? Why aren’t we working on a plan to get to where we really need to be,“ said Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flynn.
Millennials said without real rapid transit they may have to find work in another town.
“My generation is tired of getting taxed every time we make a purchase in Miami and then see no results,“ said young voter Mark Merwitzer.
Proponents of countywide rail argue it could still be financed with existing transit tax revenues of $250 million a year.
Miami County commissioners and the additional 12 members of the Transportation Planning Organization heard from many speakers over a period of hours, the overwhelming majority of them opposed to an improved bus system, favoring rail service instead.