Tri-Rail in Serious Jeopardy

In case you haven’t heard, Tri-Rail is in big trouble.

Larry Lebowitz wrote a piece a couple days ago (sorry for the tardiness in reporting) outlining the impending doom for the Tri-County commuter rail line:

Tri-Rail may be facing no weekend service and a 60 percent cut in weekday trains in the fall after the state Legislature failed Friday to pass a major commuter rail bill that jeopardizes funding for the South Florida train.

Tri-Rail has been battling for years to get the Legislature to approve a dedicated funding source so it doesn’t have to seek money annually from Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.

Without dedicated funding, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), which operates Tri-Rail, is preparing for massive service cuts starting in October.

Tri-Rail executive director Joseph Giulietti said the agency would have to kill its entire Saturday, Sunday, and holiday service — about 15 trains a day — and reduce weekday commuter service from 50 trains down to 20.

SFRTA had been hoping two years ago that the Legislature would pass a measure that would allow Tri-Rail counties to hold a referendum on initiating a $2 a day fee on most rental cars that would provide a dedicated funding source to Tri-Rail. The result? Transit-hater Jeb Bush vetoed the bill. This year, two more bills pushing the $2 rental car fee passed the House, but died in the Senate without a vote a few days ago.

So this is how it will likely go down now: Palm Beach County will cut its share of funding down to the legal limit of $4.23 million. Of course, Miami-Dade and Broward will follow suit, resulting in an $18 million dollar loss for Tri-Rail.

This is almost unfathomable considering the following:

  • Tri-Rail is one of the fastest growing transit systems in America
  • A $440 million doubling-tracking project was completed less than two years ago
  • Ridership is up 28% from this time last year, largely stemming from service increase
  • Tri-Rail provides the only regional north-south transit service between Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties

Can it get much worse for transit in South Florida? We finally have a successful transit system that serves a critical role in the regional transportation network, it’s seeing rapid growth every year, and that’s not even good enough? Shameful, embarrassing, moronic — these words that immediately come to mind don’t even do justice here.

Photo: Johnnyjet.com

17 Responses to “Tri-Rail in Serious Jeopardy”


  1. 1 Edwin

    I live in South Miami-Dade (33158) and my girlfriend lives in South Broward county (33004). Instead of driving 80 mile round trips we use the Tri-Rail/Metro Rail for $4 round trip on the weekends/weekdays. This puts me and many others in the difficult position of either spending more for gas, or not driving at all. There are no other alternatives here.

    If we truly want to fix things, particularly with energy, economic and transportation, then we need more mass transit that people can use and rely on not less.

  2. 2 Maria

    Who are the idiots in Charge?

  3. 3 Blind Mind

    Man, this is unbelievable… The only connector from Miami to WPB that grows every year is in jeopardy? Only in South Florida!

    Mass transit is #1 on my list of things that Miami needs to do in order to become a real city. I want to see an above ground rail system that connects north/south/west dade with downtown and the beaches. I think that would help to spurn the growth that is needed downtown. Kinda like one of those “if you build it, they will come” things. I will likely be dead and gone before this happens.

  4. 4 Kyle

    So ridiculous, so ridiculous. Is there anyway Palm Beach County WON’T back out from this? What if all Palm Beach County stations simply got shut down until Palm Beach County started paying its share. It’s not fair everyone pay for the idiots up in Palm Beach!

  5. 5 Eliot

    I think we “the community of this website”, should start to work together and mobilize. This is our city and we want mass transit i think it is time that we start to come up with possible ways that we can help influence the growth and security of the mass transit systems in south florida. I feel that our local government nor MDT is handling this situation to full capacity. If we play our cards right this site’s community just may be the right engine south florida needs to get mass transit back on track.

  6. 6 Kidbass

    It is no surprise that everything done in Miami always goes back two steps. We have a mass of idiots who make the worst decisions possible on purpose. Seriously, why does it take South Florida a million years to move forward just a bit? Can’t wait the get the hell out of here. South Florida is depressing.

  7. 7 Michael Calderin

    Can we find some data to show that the $18 million cut will cost residents in the three counties more than that in increased travel time, gas prices, vehicle depreciation, etc.?

    If this really is all about the dollars, we’ll need to show why Tri-Rail is a winner in those terms.

  8. 8 Carlos Miller

    I agree with Eliot that we in the South Florida blogosphere should try and raise awareness about the importance of this issue.

    It doesn’t hurt trying.

    Check out Glenna Milberg’s blog about the Miami-Dade County Commission eliminating nine Metrobus routes.

    http://carlosmiller.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats

  9. 9 Carlos Miller

    Sorry, I provided the wrong link to Glenna Milberg’s blog post.

    http://milbergsmusings.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/fare-game/

  10. 10 Kyle

    WHY CAN’T THEY JUST CLOSE THE PALM BEACH STATIONS? It’s not fair for everyone to pay for Palm Beach’s cuts.

  11. 11 Johnny R

    I am with Eliot on this one. If we start to show support and mobilize ourselves we can prevent these fools from destroying Tri-Rail. It makes absolutely no sense that they would destroy Tri-Rail!

  12. 12 kingofrance

    email your senators using this form:

    http://www.tri-rail.com/promo/SaveMyTrain/smt.htm

  13. 13 Warmonger

    Quit whining, you hippies. We have sunshine. Our schools are just as good as almost any you’d find in Mississippi or even Arkansas. And we may move the UDB a few blocks or so, but hey - alligators don’t vote, and what kind of communist favors egrets over Lowe’s anyway? Sure we don’t recycle, but that’s for those egg-headed liberals in Berkeley, not manly men. Buses? Trains? That’s for poor people with dark skin, and I’m tired of giving welfare queens my tax dollars. Stop whining about your public transit and worry about getting us back to cheap gas. And did I mention we have sunshine? …

    Thus the mindset that got us where we are today.

    On a more serious note, putting people who hate the idea of competent government in charge of our government is like putting a pedophile in charge of your schools - a profoundly bad idea. Florida, I submit, is Exhibit A. Tri-Rail’s predicament is just further evidence in support of this proposition. I’d love to say we can lobby, we can agitate, we can send testy letters - but it’s spitting in the wind, so long as folks who pander to the affluent at the expense of the many and who believe that the best government is no government at all run the show. You can’t make a better case for support than Tri-Rail has, and it still falls on deaf ears. Absent eliminating Rubio and his slimy ilk from the legislature and Crist from the governor’s mansion, you can lobby to your heart’s content to no avail. Lobby and agitate, but come election time, if the same Republicans are returned to Tallahassee, it’s a moot point.

  14. 14 Eliot

    Warmonger,

    I tried to write a response to your invigorating comment but after the first 2 paragraphs i realized that you just don’t care. You are a typical Miamian who doesn’t care about anything of true societal, and environmental importance. Miami suffers a great deal from people like you who just don’t care, don’t try, don’t bother. and your concept of a mass transit system is childish. You should take a vacation and visit other world cities so you can appreciate better what a mass transit system could do for a city like Miami. While your at it you should also visit the everglades, we are the only ones in the world who have such a beautiful ecosystem living right in our backyards.

    I think we should all pull together and figure out ways to make a difference. I’m sorry if you gave up on the issues but i haven’t. I don’t wish to explain to you their importance either. Those who care have already done their research and have come to the same conclusion that i have. we need mass transit, we need to save the everglades, we need urbanization, we need new fuels that don’t hurt the environment, we don’t need lazy people who don’t care, are ignorant, slightly racial, and overly pessimistic.

    …and by the way.. im not a hippie…have a sun shinny day!

  15. 15 Warmonger

    Eliot -

    It’s called “sarcasm.” Did you read the second paragraph? Take a deep breath, go back, and see if you get the humor.

    I ride Tri-Rail and fully support it. The point is that the system is not going to be saved by the current line up of legislators.

  16. 16 Eliot

    … disregard my last message :O)

  17. 17 Mark

    This string caught my attention, but still a little surprised there isn’t as many comments as I expected. I’ll keep checking back since this is a hot topic for me personally.

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