President Donald Trump recently issued an Executive Order directing the Transportation Secretary to expedite the development of large infrastructure projects, streamlining the regulatory process and providing funding to help projects break ground.
The order is part of the administration’s economic recovery effort responding to the recent effects of the COVID-19 closures. The additional federal funding could benefit several transportation projects currently in the pipeline across the state, including rapid transit in Miami-Dade County.
News of the Executive Order comes as Miami-Dade is putting out a Request for Proposals for its Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) plan’s Interstate 395/MacArthur Causeway Corridor, better known as the Beach Corridor.
After the RFP went out, a consortium led by global infrastructure investment firm Meridiam proposed a monorail to connect downtown Miami to Miami Beach.
The Miami Beach Monorail Consortium’s plan would create an estimated 3,000 jobs in the area and the sustainable and resilient infrastructure it promises would be delivered by a workforce of 7,000 people, 83% of whom live in Miami-Dade.
Meridiam has a positive track record in South Florida, too, having successfully completed the Port of Miami Tunnel. Its $8 billion in global assets also gives it the financial security to ensure the project is delivered.
“We are excited with the possibility of delivering another cutting-edge infrastructure project in Miami that will serve the community for decades to come,” said Jamie Rubin, CEO of Meridiam Infrastructure North America Corp.
The monorail will run on an elevated track for 3.45 miles on the south side of the MacArthur Causeway, offering passengers a 5- to 6-minute ride from one end to the other.
Further, the consortium says its proposal will feature innovative technology and a modern, sleek design while also boasting impressive efficiency.
A Parsons study commissioned by Miami-Dade County backs that up — the monorail was one of its top transit recommendations for the Beach Corridor because of its elevated rubber tire technology being especially suited for the area.
For more than three decades, numerous studies and demands from county residents have called for a robust mass-transit solution to connect mainland Miami and the beach. The current RFP is the closest the county has gotten to bringing the critical infrastructure to fruition.
Now, it’s down to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his administration to evaluate the monorail proposal and negotiate financial details before making a recommendation to the County Commission for consideration.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s Executive Order, signed June 4, will expedite planned or potential projects identified by the Transportation Secretary. If the consortium’s plan secures local approval, a project decades in the making could be on the fast-track to becoming a reality.