What is the future for commuter rail in South Florida?

The Miami Herald

What is the future for commuter rail in South Florida?

CEOs were asked: Miami-Dade has agreed to build Brightline two new stations. Meanwhile, the future of Tri-Rail is uncertain. What should, or shouldn’t, be done to support rail in South Florida? 

The success of Brightline and Tri-Rail is factored on overcoming the perception that driving provides us with greater independence. Additional options for commuter and leisure travel, combined with lower fares, will disrupt the notion that driving is the logical choice. 

Michael Balaban, President, CEO, Jewish  Federation of Broward County 

Rail in South Florida is essential to an optimal 21st century transportation ecosystem; one that moves us  

away from inefficient, single-occupancy, combustion-engine vehicles. At Lime, our scooters perfectly complement  transit and rail services, providing convenient, sustainable, first-mile, last-mile options that relieve the stresses of  traffic and the hunt for parking. Rail serves a critical role for commuters and tourists. Add major-impact projects  like the Underline and it is clear that through a collaboration of the various players in the ecosystem, we will  change the landscape to meet the needs of everyone in our community. 

Uhriel Bedoya, Florida General Manager, Lime 

I’m all for trains and public transportation that take the cars off the street and help Miami-Dade become more  sustainable and efficient. This legacy issue requires communication, education and commitment from all parties  involved, including the private sector, the community and the government. 

Claudia Busch, Founding Principal, Berenblum Busch Architects 

Rail will have to be part of South Florida’s future in order to ensure our economic survival. Our roadways, today,  are treacherous, congested and limit movement. While I cannot detail the level of service needed, routes  required, or economic outlay, no one has any doubt that Florida is far behind other states on an effective mass  transit system. It will take significant social change to get our population to accept mass transit as a reliable and  convenient commuting alternative, so we will need to have a well-articulated regional plan to build awareness and  garner the support of the public. I also see self-driving passenger vans as a solution for transporting individuals  from their front doors to their rail of choice. 

Anita Byer, CEO, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk 

Railroads are long-term investments, as they require a culture change of habits by the population. Continuing to  add local stops encourages Florida residents to use alternative types of transportation within their everyday life  and as a commuting substitute. Additionally, by offering resident rates and commuting packages, this will assist in  making this shift happen more rapidly. Not only does it cut down on traffic, it reduces the city’s overall carbon  footprint and should be supported. 

Ricardo Dunin, Founding Partner, Lionheart Capital 

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