Check out this great article from the Biscayne Times about the history of the FEC lines and the current plans to adapt a track for regional commuter rail.

In all, the FEC’s north-south line passes through the downtowns of 28 cities and towns in the tri-county region, traversing one of the nation’s most densely populated and congested corridors. Hence the logic of studying rail-transit possibilities. “We got through phase one of the study,” says Scott Seeburger, project manager at FDOT’s District 4 office, “and now we’re going to go full force with phase two.” Phase one evaluated the environmental, social, and economic impacts of various transit technologies (rapid-rail, light-rail, streetcars). Phase two will analyze details like operations and passenger-station sites, resulting in a specific plan, which will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration. If that agency gives the nod of approval to the project, the state will become eligible for federal funding. Engineering and construction could begin soon thereafter.

Pretty cool. They peg the cost as high as $5-6 Billion, and critics say that it would be more cost effective to buy new right of way and equipment for a BRT lane  along the same alignment. Don’t know if thats the best idea (considering the right-of-way is already there), but either way the key to building ridership is to change the zoning around the stations (in the way that MDT has tried to do in South Miami and Dadeland). You need to put alot of people within a short walk of the station. Lets hope this one moves forward soon.

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3 Responses to FEC Biscayne Commuter Rail Update

  1. Mike Lydon says:

    This is a positive piece of news. A 28 city-bicycle greenway corridor should also be part of the alignment. I have heard for months, however, that the company who controls the ROW (CSX?) has no interest in giving up the line for a more public use.

    Also, why the hell are FDOT people taking the time and money to study streetcars on a long-distance inter-city rail line?! Not to mention streetcars tend to run…in STREETs, not along existing rail ROWs.

    Of all transit projects in the region, this one would likely be the most transformative.

  2. Tony Garcia says:

    This is a different ROW that the CSX line (which runs south and west). It would be a huge advance in regional transit. Go us.

  3. FEC Railroad owns the corridor - from what I know - from personal accounts with their executives - they were looking to sell it.

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