The city of Miami Beach issued a request for proposals Jan. 12 seeking a partner to build a street car and light rail system. The push for the transit system was initiated last year when a private company approached the city with an unsolicited offer to build a 14-mile link between downtown Miami and the Miami Beach Convention Center, along with five miles of stops through South Beach’s entertainment district. Now, city commissioners have taken that idea to the open market to see how much competition they can drum up for the original proposal. They also decided against seeking federal dollars for construction, as that could add years to the process. As it is and if all goes smoothly, the project could break ground within three years.
The unsolicited proposal laid out a plan for the private partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) the system, recouping its costs through taxpayer dollars over the course of a 35-year period. The system would connect and be a part of a larger light-rail system called Baylink. Miami-Dade County officials, however, have said they want one operator to manage the entire transit system. It remains unclear how that desire will affect Miami Beach’s efforts.
Responses to the RFP are due May 16.