The current (July 2003) name for the Miami-Dade County
public transit plan to create a transit line from Downtown
, to South Beach
The system will in theory alleviate the massive traffic problem that is currently plauging South Beach. Not many Beach locals drive that much, most of the traffic is from commuters from the mainland. An elevated rail/mover system would probably eliminate this problem. I'd imagine a side benefit would be less DWI problems on the MacArthur Causeway, as clubgoers would use the trains rather than drive.
The proposed links are:
Light Rail system: Small electric trains whiz back and forth across the causeway on an elevated track.
Trolley: Like the light rail, but would be at street level, and pretty much be subject to existing traffic.
More buses: Like the current system, but more of it, and probably just as slow.
A local politician has even suggested a Sydney style water taxi, but that would be a major regulatory hassle.
The project is mired in controversy as of this date. Proponents state the obvious, that clean, quiet trains will significantly lessen the traffic issue, and the current parking situation as well. Opponents state that the project will cause undue issues during it's multi-year construction phase, and destroy the 'look' of South Beach...some of the more conservative opponents suggest that 'undesirables' will come over in droves...(my response is that they should look around right now!)
More than likely, a rail system will be approved. After planning, rights-of-way purchases, and construction, the Baylink should cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 million. The local government missed this year's deadline to apply for Federal Transit Administration matching funds, but hopes to have a concrete plan in place by the 2004 season, so as to get the federal government to significantly defray the expense.