A Miami Herald investigation in January 2005 found that Miami-Dade Transit cannot afford to build, operate and maintain two-thirds of the Metrorail corridors promised to voters when they approved a half-cent sales tax in 2002, including the expansion of metro rail towards Florida City. According to this investigation in 2002 the county failed to inform the voters that there were fewer prospects for federal money than forecast; however a recent report after the County revised their plans and issued a long term transportation plan shows that improvements planned throughout Miami-Dade County -- may come up more than $200 million short in state and federal matching funds over the next 30 years. The Miami Herald investigation also reveled that an existing deficit was not discussed during the campaign and declining fare revenues were to be blamed. Circumstances have drastically changed since Miami Herald published the report according to Miami Transit June 2005 ridership is showing an increase over June 2004, from 8.2 million to 8.3 million boardings. Parking at all of its bus park and ride lots also went up right after the first big spike in gas prices in August. Overall, the system has enjoyed a 25.6% ridership increase in the last three years, following the adoption of a half-percent sales surtax dedicated to transportation improvements. In May of 2005 ten of the 13 commissioners approved raising Metrobus and Metromover prices from $1.25 to $1.50. Reduced fares, available to Medicare recipients, disabled people and Miami-Dade students, will rise from 60 cents to 75 cents. The increases, which took effect in May 2005, are expected to add about $25.4 million revenue through 2006 to operate the transit system.


There have also been reports of mismanagement and safety concerns, it was reported earlier this year that some Miami-Dade County transit drivers are working dozens of hours of overtime each week, more than doubling their pay, but raising questions about safety.


There are only three continuous roadway facilities in the South Miami-Dade region (Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike, US 1, Krome Avenue), according to a report published by the Miami-Dade County titled "South Link, Purpose and Need" South Dade (for the purpose of the report South Dade is Miami Dade County south of Kendall drive) has 14 bus routes representing 1 bus route per 37,000 persons. These 14 routes put 30 buses per hour into service, which equates to 1 bus per 14,000 persons. The report suggests that poor coverage and frequency does not encourage people to ride with public transportation (thus more cars on the road). To compound this on April 18th the County Commission is going to take up the issue of changing the Urban Development Boundaries (UDB). If thousands of more houses are build South of Cutler Bay and if major places of employment are north of Cutler Bay, US1 and the turnpike will be gridlocked. United Citizens for South Link has therefore extended its support to The Urban Environment League of Greater Miami, who is fighting to keep the UDB from being changed.



Of all the transportation corridors the South Corridor is the largest. Population wise it is the fastest growing. Overall population growth in Miami Dade County between the years 2000 and 2030 is expected to be about 34%. The population growth in South Dade during the same period will be about 83%. South Dade pays much of the ½ cent tax (total of $169 million per year) is financing the northern and east-west projects that are already underway. While projects are going ahead in other areas, metrorail extension to South Miami-Dade will be considered for financing in the year 2016 and may start by 2030. South Dade would never have approved the ½ penny tax had they known that they would be paying for Broward residents to have the convenience of catching the train to work in Miami or to go to Miami International Airport and South Dade residents will have to wait till the year 2030 and beyond for the same convenience.



A new political action committee (PAC) has been formed and registered with the County, United Citizens for South Link (UCSL) to support and advocate the earlier completion of public transportation projects, including the promised Metrorail project along US1 from Dadeland South metrorail station to Florida City.


UCSL website: http://metrorailsouth.com