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County Set To Corner South Dade Transit

County Set To Corner South Dade Transit
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As construction for “Gold Standard” bus rapid transit on the South Dade Transitway gears up, Miami-Dade aims to clinch the use of 850 parking spaces on the line’s penultimate stop.

Commissioners are to consider a parking deal with Homestead Oct. 6, roughly a month after they OK’d a $368 million contract for construction of stations, roadway and intersection improvements and other enhancements for the 20-mile rapid bus project.

The agreement, sponsored by Esteban Bovo Jr., Daniella Levine Cava and Dennis Moss, would see the county pay Homestead $5.7 million for use of the spaces.

The city, in turn, must use the funds to pay costs and debt service for “eligible transit components” of Homestead Station, a 250,000-square-foot mixed development near city hall that includes a 1,100-space parking garage.

Homestead Station, which cost $42 million to build, a memo from county Deputy Mayor Jennifer Moon said, opened in October 2019. The station includes about 40,000 square feet of retail and dining and a 65,000-square-foot entertainment center with a movie theater and bowling alley.

Money for the county payment would come from a tax zone that commissioners created in 2018 to pay for transit upgrades along six commuting corridors identified in the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (Smart) Plan.

Over 30 years, the Transportation Infrastructure Improvement District is expected to generate nearly $1.88 billion in tax revenue from real estate within a half-mile of the South Dade Transitway, Kendall Corridor, North Corridor, Northeast Corridor and Beach Corridor and within a mile of the East-West Corridor along SR 836.

The district’s creation marked the first transit-specific tax since voters approved the countywide half-penny tax. But unlike the half-penny surtax, the district will reroute some funds from other services in the county’s unincorporated areas, including police and roadway upkeep.

In a Feb. 6, 2018, memo to commissioners, Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez noted that other counties have successfully used transportation infrastructure improvement districts, which are similar in concept to community redevelopment areas (CRAs): “Revenue that is allocated through this methodology could make funding other services more challenging.”

The $5.7 million payment, if approved, would be the second allocation of funds from the district since its inception.

In accepting the money, Homestead would agree to make payments back into the district through the Homestead CRA, an extension for which the county administration is preparing.

Commissioners in September approved a design-build contract with OHL USA Inc. to redevelop the existing busway that mostly parallels US 1 for bus rapid transit.

Descriptions of the project include outfitting 45 intersections with crossing gate arms and traffic signal preemption and building 14 120-foot-long weather-controlled stations with center platform boarding, large overhead cooling fans, off-board fare collection, air conditioned vestibules, closed-circuit TV security, and basic amenities like bike racks and benches.

Once work begins, OHL has 880 days to finish it. That includes an 80-day contingency.

Credit: miamitodaynews

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